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Thread: Upcoming Revision Surgery (2/10) questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Edmond, OK
    Posts
    32

    Upcoming Revision Surgery (2/10) questions

    Hey there,

    Would like to hear from people who have had extensive hardware removed and replaced and how their recovery was different than initial placement of hardware.

    My last surgery was June 06, and I was doing better then ever! Nine months after that surgery (just long enough to really feel good), I was rear-ended in a very minor accident. Didn't notice anything immediately, but several days later I was having pain down my leg while driving. Then it seemed that the more I moved, the more I hurt (that became my new mantra). I had gone in for x-rays and tests in the weeks/months after the accident, but nothing could be seen.

    Needless to say, my lifestyle shut down pretty much and I have basically stayed home for the last couple of years. I am fortunate that I work from home, but it's getting really lonely with all this pain around here.

    In August 08 we did another CAT-scan and were able to see some areas of non-union in my fusion. I wish they could just go in and drop some liquid bone onto the spots and call it a day, but the hardware has to come out to get to the non-unions and replaced. (not all of the hardware coming out)

    I've had some screws replaced, but haven't ever had rods cut away, removed and replaced. Since I am already fused (T1-S1), I am hoping the recovery and associated pain won't be as bad as the initial surgery.

    I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has had their hardware removed / replaced and their recovery experiences.

    Needless to say I am pretty bummed about all this and not looking forward to my upcoming surgery. But I go into this believing I will be better on the other side of surgery.

    Thanks for sharing!
    csbaby
    Christy
    Plano, TX
    Surgical dates
    3/25/02 - fused T1-L3, T - 88 degrees
    L - 74 degrees
    7/8/04 - repaired 6 areas of non-union & fused L3-L4
    12/15/05 - fused L4-L5, L5-S1
    2/27/06 - corrected hardware failure
    3/5/06 - corrected hardware issue
    6/16/06 - replaced broken screw in pelvis
    3/9/07 - rear ended auto collision
    2/12/09 - totaled car - someone pulled out in front of me - Yikes!
    3/30/09 - Revision surgery, removed & replaced t12through S1

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    213
    Hi Christy,

    I'm so sorry to hear about such horrible pain you've been "living" with [inverted commas, because I understand that living isn't always the word you feel like using when in that much chronic pain!]. What a frustrating & unexpected result of a minor car accident! I am glad, though, that at least the source of your pain has been found & can be addressed.

    Of course, everyone's spine & surgery is different, but I can share a bit about my journey...I hope it helps a little, just knowing that others have had similar ops.

    Tomorrow, I'll be 5wks post-op (already!!) from having some of my instrumentation replaced. As you can see in my sig, I had my fusion done in 2 "stages", with the L3-pelvis instrumentation failing to fuse due to my osteoporosis. Now that I've been on bone-strengthening meds for a few yrs, have a new surgeon (who actually trained under my old one!), & technology & implants have come such a long way - it was time to tackle the revision surgery. It was presented to me as "optional", in that my curve was not life-threatening & there were I high risks for me....but, my pain among other things was what convinced me to go ahead with it.

    Probably the easiest way to tell you about my experiences this time around is to link you to the thread where I (& initially another NSF member) have been posting updates. Of course, everyone's surgeries are different & my experiences are well-tainted by my (complex) medical history, but in a nutshell, for me - even though pulling out the old + inserting the new makes this a much longer surgery, I found it a whole lot easier to get through. I'm still in recovery, but with very few exceptions (discreet points in time), I woke up from surgery in MUCH LESS pain than I was in pre-op! I found that the pain meds worked well for me this time around (vs. barely, the last 2 times)....but even so, it seemed that my very painful pre-op areas were relieved immensely just from the surgery.

    I'm still on some Valium to help with some neck troubles that I've always had (but exacerbated right now by the magically realigned spine)[the valium was initially prescribed for nerve pains due to swelling/inflammation against spinal cord]. But, I've been off all regular pain meds since....maybe wk 3, I think. I'm still shocked & astounded by that! I do still take anywhere between 0 - 4 Panadeine Extra pills spread through the day, as needed (each pill is 15mg codeine phosphate + 500mg paracetamol, the latter of which has never done anything for my pain - mostly on these for the low-dose codeine). This is a MASSIVE change from pre-op when I was on high-dose codeine + ibuprofen very regularly, every day, for years - to the point where I felt it was majorly affecting my memory, concentration, etc....although I probably should have from a pain management aspect, I refused to change to more powerful drugs since I needed some semblance of a brain whilst studying & also didn't want to feel like a zombie all day!

    Ask anyone here, & you'll discover I was terrified going into this surgery, & I'm still really struggling with worries that this fusion will fail like the last one.....but I don't regret this surgery at all, even if it only buys me a few more years of much improved quality of life. I know there are no guarantees of outcomes....but I so hope that your revision goes smoothly & brings you a whole new ability to enjoy life.

    Please feel free to PM me if you ever think I can be helpful to you, or just want to chat

    Take care, & best wishes to you.

    --
    BTW - if you feel inclined toward reading more ramblings on my journey, with the help of JenW, I've been posting random updates here. Thinking of you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,978
    Hi Christy-- I'm glad you posted to let us know, but very sorry you have the need for this next surgery. I'll be praying that this one does the trick-- and you'll be on the way to a much better life. I'll add you to our informal surgery calendar thread (Jan,Feb, Mar surgeries) but if you want more info added, just let me know. Best wishes. Susie
    67 and plugging along...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15
    CMT (type 2) DX in 2014, progressing
    NEW 10/2018 x-rays show spondylolisthesis at L4/L5 - Dr. DeWald is monitoring

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Edmond, OK
    Posts
    32

    Update

    Well - I've been out sick with that horrible cold or whatever it is that's going around. Guess it's good to get that out of the way before surgery. But now, I have a far worse problem. Do you ever wonder if you are doing the right thing by having surgery? Will it really help?

    I mean - I can walk and get around. That's about all I do anymore. After my second surgery I went out and got a dog just to make sure that I walked a good distance every day. And she has been the light of my life. She's about five years old now, her name is Sweetie. And she is so sweet. She's got this little sweetie smile she gives you when she hasn't seen you (not me of course) in a day or two. It's priceless. But anyway, I never even thought that I would have had to have any more surgeries and now I am gearing up for number 8 all because of a stupid rear end collision. I am wondering if I should just not go through with it and live how I am living - with very little movement around, or take my chances on being better than this. And keep walking the Sweetie dog.

    That's my life in a nutshell. I am able to take care of myself and thankfully pay my way right now anway. I stay home most of the time anymore and watch tv or surf the internet and walk the dog - a lot. (I also now have 2 cats, but as you know, they are pretty self sufficient except when their food bowl is empty). I also am now doing my best to go to church every Sunday and whenever they have something special going on. That's my life with scoliosis and surgery.

    So as I am on the countdown to surgery day Feb 10, I wonder if I am doing the right thing. I am going through all the motions of getting ready. I've asked friends to take my dog for awhile and someone to come over and check on the cats. My mom, God bless her, is going to come over once again to help take care of me. She is getting too old for this and frankly her mind isn't what it once was - but there is no one else to help.

    The reason I started this post was because I am hoping that this revision surgery will not be as difficult of a recovery and maybe I can do this myself. I thank those that have replied. You've made me think it is an easier recovery. But you never really know - do you? Until you go through it and see what it feels like on the other side?

    The last couple of weeks have been pretty crappy. I've been real sick as I said earlier. I've been recovering from hernia surgery that I had on 11/14/08, so all this coughing has been really painful. I needed to wait 3 months from having that surgery before I let them cut on my back. Surgery - that's all I ever seem to talk about. That and my sweet dog.

    Anyway, I mentioned there was something worse. Sweetie is really sick right now and just isn't herself. I am waiting for blood test results to come in today. I hope and pray that whatever it is will be something that she can recover from and it goes away. But if it is something serious, like damaged kidney, liver or even cancer - I am going to have to put her down. So I've been praying like crazy. I even wonder if this is God's way of telling me not to have this surgery right now. Because I can't take care of a really sick dog and have back surgery. And I can't ask my friends to take care of a really sick dog either - could you?

    I took her in to the vet after my hernia surgery for an ear infection and they put her on steroids to get the inflammation down. And because the ear infection had been a chronic condition - they put her on steroids for a long time. She would actually just now be finishing up the prescription this week had she not gotten really sick a little over two weeks ago. I took her back two weeks ago yesterday after she had thrown up and up and the vet couldn't tell me anything about her throwing up. He only said he liked what he saw (she had lost 8 pounds in from 11/20 to 1/5) and wanted me to finish the steroids. I told him I would, but didn't put her back on them because she has just never recovered. My sweet girl has continued to drink and drink and needed to go outside and has become extremely lethargic. What once was a vibrant, healthy dog is now a couch dog. And it's killing me every time I look at her. You want to do something - but what?

    So what is more important - my little girl's health and taking care of her? Or going forward as scheduled with back surgery? This is not a fun place to be right now. And I am also relying on others to help me when I have this surgery. I don't think it is right to ask them to take care of a sick puppy who could die on them. God, I hope and pray she gets better in the next day or two and we see good signs. She is my reason for getting out of bed every morning.

    I haven't even given my LOA paperwork to the doctor to complete yet (they all charge you for paperwork anymore - stupid) and I haven't submitted it to my boss yet either. So many steps you have to take before you go under the knife. Some lawyer is supposed to be handling the car accident thing for me but I don't know about him now. I surrendered all my stuff to him back in October. I was trying to deal with the insurance company myself and as soon as I told them we decided to have surgery to correct the problem, they sent me a settlement offer of $1,500 saying their experts say this accident in now way damaged my back (without even looking at me!). I should have gotten a lawyer in the very beginning, but believed the insurance company would be fair with me. I wasn't seriously injured but it did damage me a bit. And as I said in my initial post - the more I moved, the more I hurt. So now the statue of limitations is up on March 9 and this lawyer has all my stuff and up til a couple of weeks ago hadn't contacted the insurance company yet. I can't worry about it. I have my baby to worry about right now.

    So if any more of you out there have had revision surgery where they have removed half your hardware, was your recovery easier?

    God bless all of you out there living life the best you can.
    cml
    Christy
    Plano, TX
    Surgical dates
    3/25/02 - fused T1-L3, T - 88 degrees
    L - 74 degrees
    7/8/04 - repaired 6 areas of non-union & fused L3-L4
    12/15/05 - fused L4-L5, L5-S1
    2/27/06 - corrected hardware failure
    3/5/06 - corrected hardware issue
    6/16/06 - replaced broken screw in pelvis
    3/9/07 - rear ended auto collision
    2/12/09 - totaled car - someone pulled out in front of me - Yikes!
    3/30/09 - Revision surgery, removed & replaced t12through S1

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Edmond, OK
    Posts
    32

    Just wondering

    If you all feel alone in all the decisions you need to make? Isn't it overwhelming?
    Christy
    Plano, TX
    Surgical dates
    3/25/02 - fused T1-L3, T - 88 degrees
    L - 74 degrees
    7/8/04 - repaired 6 areas of non-union & fused L3-L4
    12/15/05 - fused L4-L5, L5-S1
    2/27/06 - corrected hardware failure
    3/5/06 - corrected hardware issue
    6/16/06 - replaced broken screw in pelvis
    3/9/07 - rear ended auto collision
    2/12/09 - totaled car - someone pulled out in front of me - Yikes!
    3/30/09 - Revision surgery, removed & replaced t12through S1

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    137

    Hi Christy

    Oh Christy, I am so sorry to hear about your pain- the physical pain and the emotional pain! You've been thru so many surgeries already, but this time it's due to an accident. I hope it will not be too bad- I have no advice, just sympathy and prayers. Lots of prayers- for you and little Sweetie.

    Your life sounds like mine, I work, and that's about it. I have a puppy too, she's 8 yrs. old now and she gives me so much joy! I pray that sweetie will recover soon. The vets here in texas are pretty good, I recommend you take Sweetie back to the vet and tell him you didn't continue the meds. And go back often- or ask the vet to board sweetie until you're recovered. It will be expensive, $10/ day? or more-- but at least sweetie will be in good hands.

    Please know that I am praying for you and your puppy. God bless you and help you recover from this latest set back. Jamie
    57 years old.
    thoracic curve 68 degrees
    lumbar-sacral curve +/- 41 degrees
    Cspine C3- C7 fusion Nov. 2011 <done! success!!>, then scoli surgery T2- L4 or maybe to sacrum.
    Discogram/ myelogram pending. Surgery to be scheduled, maybe fall 2015. <scared but I know this is not going to get better>
    THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR SHARING EXPERIENCES AND KNOWLEDGE!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    Just a note to wish you well Christy. You've been through so much, wish I could wave a magic wand for you.

    Let us know how you go. Good luck!
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago north suburb
    Posts
    772
    Christy,

    I just want to express the sentiments of the two previous posters. I feel so badly for you. And I know all too well the sense of feeling alone and overwhelmed. I will add my prayers for your intention as well. Chris

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    213
    Christy,

    Just another wishing she could wave a magic wand for you & Sweetie....all I can offer is empathy with your doubts, & to a lesser degree, leaving an ill, much-loved pet for surgery. We have some great neighbours, who we've counted on a lot over the years...but short of something like that, I would second having Sweetie board at the vet's if possible at all. I so hope this is nothing serious for her. If necessary, or if it might make you feel better, is it possible you could postpone the surgery at least until you feel ok leaving Sweetie?

    I guess only you can decide if more surgery is right for your at the moment, but please vent here as much as you need, & please keep us posted if you can. We care. You're so right that it's impossible to tell what recovery will be like after any surgery, let alone a major spinal one. I can tell you I've found it not easy, but infinitely easier than my previous surgeries (even though it was a much bigger one)...though of course that's no guarantee for anyone else - pity! I had a list of doubts longer than both my arms going into this last surgery (as I do for any surgery)....ultimately, I decided I had to take the risks & focus on the likely positives to come out of the surgery; but I can understand your thoughts about settling for what you have right now, "just in case". I wish I could tell you something to make things feel better for you

    Whatever your decision for right now, I'll be thinking much of you. Please take care.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    Christy,

    I am so sorry that you are going through so much, and DARN that the car accident had to happen. Has Sweetie recovered from her sickness? I sure hope so. We love our pets so much, it's hard to see them suffer.

    Good luck coming to a decision on what you want to do. It is overwhelming to make these decisions, even when you do have lots of people around you. THe bottom line is, you are the one who will be going under the knife, no one else, so it's you that has to be comfortable with the decision.

    ((Hugs)) and give us an update on your decision when you have time.
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Currently living in Chicago, raised in Burlington, VT, and had both surgery's by Dr. Arronson at Fletcher Allen
    Posts
    13
    I never had revision surgery despite being a candidate for it (kyphosis above the fusion and crankshafting), but I did have ALL of my hardware removed almost 6 years ago. I can't believe its been that long already.

    My hardware was removed for completely different reasons (infection attached itself to the metal and antibiotics did nothing), but I had a great deal less pain with in a couple months of surgery. I was always pretty skinny, and had a lot of discomfort at the top of my fusion. I could feel the hardware pressing against my skin in some areas, and had muscle spasms that often lead to tears. For me, having my second surgery to remove the hardware was definitely worth it, even with all the complications I had. A CFS leak turned out to be a minor inconvenience in the long run.

    within a couple months after removal, I had far less pain, and any muscle spasms I had were barely noticeable.
    Last edited by Randi_K; 02-06-2009 at 04:47 AM.
    Fused T2-L3 in March, 2000
    Hardware removed April 2003
    Living a full, active life almost 9 years later.
    Decided against thoracoplasty and revision to correct crankshafting and cervical kyphosis because right now a few more curves don't bother me enough to warrant more surgery.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Greenfield, WI
    Posts
    414
    Wow---you've been thru alot.....I feel horribly guilty now for the post I left a few days ago. I hope that all goes well for you this time around. I see in your signature that "your done now" w/surgeries. Heck-Idont blame ya! Im done Ive only had one!!! You say your going to church on a regular basis....maybe you will find peace there, along w/the answer(s) to your question(s) about what to do. YOuve suffered alot to have a normal life & have put yourself thru alot of stress...mentally & physcially. If one more will truly "do the trick" then maybe that is what you should do. I know this post is not what you are looking for, as far as a reply to your actul question, but I just wanted to say that everyone here is here for you the best we can. Take care of yourself & you pup!

    Lynn
    Lynn -30.... something
    DxD @ 8 yrs old: 10* curve-no brace-no nothin'!
    At age 26: Thorasic 48*/Lumbar 50*
    At age 34: Thorasic 58*/Lumbar 60*
    Posterior T5-L4 Fusion Jan 14th, 2009 w/Dr Tribus
    UW Madison, WI Hospital
    **AFTER: less than 10* Thorasic/15* Lumbar**

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Greenfield, WI
    Posts
    414

    cont...

    I really need to start using spell check or something....honestly...lol...I cant see to type....just sitting here laughing at myself...lol....good bye for real now....take care...
    Lynn -30.... something
    DxD @ 8 yrs old: 10* curve-no brace-no nothin'!
    At age 26: Thorasic 48*/Lumbar 50*
    At age 34: Thorasic 58*/Lumbar 60*
    Posterior T5-L4 Fusion Jan 14th, 2009 w/Dr Tribus
    UW Madison, WI Hospital
    **AFTER: less than 10* Thorasic/15* Lumbar**

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Edmond, OK
    Posts
    32

    Surgery date changed from 2/10 to 2/26 - and now car accident

    Hello everyone,

    Well - it's just crazy out there. I've meant to comment before this but have just been overwhelmed and worn out. My job has been crazy busy and I have been working over 50 hours a week - thankfully from home. And with my dog's illness to consider, I was able to move my surgery date forward to 2/26/09. Have been working tirelessly with the vets trying to get her regulated on insulin. She seemed to be coming around.

    Yesterday,2/12, we were in a major car accident! I had been in to the hospital that morning for a Cat Scan to get this drain removed from my abdomen (don't think I have been in to post about this yet). I had a huge hematoma in my abdomen from the hernia surgery and they implanted a drain on 2/3. I knew it needed to come out before my back surgery, so they pulled it yesterday and I did my bloodwork in preparation for surgery on 2/26.

    A couple hours later I was driving to meet my massage therapist. He had graciously offered to take care of my dog while I was hospitalized and since he is a nurse, he wouldn't have any problem with the injections. We were going to introduce our dogs.

    Well - we (Sweetie and I) weren't even a mile from home and had a huge crash. Praise God that I am moving around. I am in a lot of pain - but I could have been killed. I was going eastbound and was planning on taking a left turn at the next light, so I was in the far left lane. I drive (drove now) a Ford Escape, a small SUV. A Lincoln Navigator evidently did not see me and sped out into my flow of traffic to turn and go westbound. I was going about 40mph and there was no time for brakes. It was an instanteous impact. Hit them dead center on the driver's side of their SUV and their car flipped onto the passenger side.

    I immediately crawled out of my car (thank God my legs and brain were working) because I had just filled with gas and was afraid of explosion. I saw my dog in the back seat and opened the door to get her out. She was shaken, but able to get out of the car. And miraculously, one of my neighbors was there and took control of her. I asked him to take her to the vet, then began to get really dizzy. I laid down on the ground. The paramedics were strapping be into a neck brace onto a back board getting ready to haul me off to the hospital in no time.

    It's about 30 hours later since the crash and I am starting to stiffen up all over. Initially they xrayed me from knee to neck and cat scanned me all over. My abdomen is swelling all over and I think I have a minor concussion - but no broken bones! Who knows what has happened to my spine - all 17 fused levels. My dog spent the night at the emergency hospital and is home with me now.

    The 2/26 surgery may be compromised - heck, my life is compromised. I don't think I can get it together between now and then to get a car, etc.

    So I ask for your prayers for both me and my Sweetie girl dog. I am hoping that I will be able to take care of myself. I had mentioned in the previous post about my mother coming to stay with me. God bless her will, but her mind is not there anymore. And she now has a cast on her right arm from a fall she suffered on the ice several weeks ago. She wants to come cook and clean and take care of me - but I end up really taking care of her. She also won't be able to give insulin shots to my dog. So what happens when you can no longer take care of your loved ones and animals and need to be dependent on others? Thank you for listening/reading.
    christy
    Christy
    Plano, TX
    Surgical dates
    3/25/02 - fused T1-L3, T - 88 degrees
    L - 74 degrees
    7/8/04 - repaired 6 areas of non-union & fused L3-L4
    12/15/05 - fused L4-L5, L5-S1
    2/27/06 - corrected hardware failure
    3/5/06 - corrected hardware issue
    6/16/06 - replaced broken screw in pelvis
    3/9/07 - rear ended auto collision
    2/12/09 - totaled car - someone pulled out in front of me - Yikes!
    3/30/09 - Revision surgery, removed & replaced t12through S1

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    Oh Christy, how terrible! Thank God that you survived that accident. No wonder you're getting sore now. I'm sorry that things are so out of control for you. You've really got your hands full with everything in your life. Maybe you do need some time to recover from the hernia and the accident.

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers. ((Hugs))
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

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