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Thread: 2nd Surgery with Fused Spine

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    6

    2nd Surgery with Fused Spine

    Hello everyone ...
    I hope you all are doing well. I go by the name of Spinal Tap. I have scoliosis; upper to low back T1 - T12 [I think]. I had surgery when I was 17. There was some correction that helped a great deal. My spine was fused. I am now 50 and considering 2nd surgery to make my spine straighter which would mean breaking my spine and resetting it. In my 1st surgery I was cut twice: one cut down the middle and another cut to the right of my spine. Has anyone, 30 and older had a similar operation and if so what were the risks you were told? I really want to do this. I found a very good spinal surgeon @ NYU in New York City; Dr Joseph Dryer [NYU]. I look forward to someone's reply. It's a really big decision for me and I could use all the information I can get. Thanks.

    - A tad scared
    Spinal Tap

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Euharlee, Georgia
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    449
    I had my original surgery at 16 and revision surgery at 43. My revision surgery was to get rid of extra fusion that was pressing on my spinal column. Do you know how many degrees your curve is now? Are you having pain? Did your original surgeon use a Harrington rod? If you have a rod, they would also have to remove it and put another in for stability while your bones refuse. The nice thing about surgery now is you aren't in the hospital as long as you were in the 70s and no plaster casts! You might have to wear a removable plastic cast after surgery.
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    10
    Can they actually go back and recorrect a curve? I was under the impression that once a fusion was done, no one would risk going back in to try for a better correction. Does insurance pay for it if it is basically cosmetic? I would love to have a straighter back, get rid of the rib hump, and gain my two inches of lost heighth back. I am 60 years old, no rod. Is it too late?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    NJ
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    1,291

    Talking No, it's not too late

    Many of us here had surgeries around your age. The fusion is taken down and discs removed. If the spine has continued to curve the fusion is weak anyway. It is common to get a 50% correction.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,802
    Quote Originally Posted by llanning View Post
    Can they actually go back and recorrect a curve? I was under the impression that once a fusion was done, no one would risk going back in to try for a better correction. Does insurance pay for it if it is basically cosmetic? I would love to have a straighter back, get rid of the rib hump, and gain my two inches of lost heighth back. I am 60 years old, no rod. Is it too late?
    Yes, old fused curves can be revised and straightened, although I doubt you'd find any qualified surgeon to do it for cosmetic reasons. It's almost always done as part of a surgery to correct something like degeneration above or below the fusion or a sagittal imbalance. The procedure to revise the fusion is called an osteotomy.

    Regards,
    Linda

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    43
    Hi,

    I went to a surgeon to look at revising my fusion. I have a 60 degree curve and felt it was getting worse. He said yes I could have it done and he could straigthen it but it has alot of risks and he would rather leave it as I am not in that much pain andd he thinks it will hold steady.

    Am going to a diff surgeon on Tuesday to have it xrayed and measured again just to make sure things are still ok.Right now it feels ok, since I started pilates I feel alot better about it and feel straighter some days ( prob just the new muscle from the exercise).

    I will hold out on any kind of revision unless I really need it i.e curve is causing breathing problems or alot of pain.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    NJ
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    Felix,
    A 60 deg curve is likely to progress. You are smart to get other opinions.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    43
    Hi karen,

    I went to see the surgeon today. He measured the curve at 62 so it is in the + or -5 degree range from original surgery ( 57 degrees post surgery 14 years ago). He said he wouldnt do anything as I am not in alot of pain and they would have to see an increase of 10 degrees plus before they would consider taking down the fusion and redoing it because it is such a big job.

    I agree with him, he also said that the vertebras above and below the fusion are fine which is good.Hopefuly my spine will continue to hold and I wont have any problems but at least I know now that they are monitoring it and if it does start to progress they will do something about it no matter how unpleasant.

    Amanda

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    416

    Wink My 2 cents

    Amanda,
    You are smart to monitor your curve. If you are not in pain, and the fusion is solid there is no reason to go through another major surgery. Definitely keep your xrays and the measurements of your curve so you will have a record for the future if things change.
    May 2008 Fusion T4 - S1, Pre-op Curves T45, L70 (age 48). Unsuccessful surgery.

    March 18, 2010 (age 50). Revision with L3 Osteotomy, Replacement of hardware T11 - S1 , addition of bilateral pelvic fixation. Correction of sagittal imbalance and kyphosis.

    January 24, 2012 (age 52) Revision to repair pseudoarthrosis and 2 broken rods at L3/L4.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Indianapolis
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    10
    Naptown: Who did your surgery?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    6

    "Back" on the block ...

    Hey everyone ..,
    My apologies ... I have been away from the forum dealing with a few health issues ... Thank you so much for your replies and comments ... I see now that in my original entry I neglected to mention that .., "my harrington rod broke years back" ... I don't have "immense" pain but it is at times very uncomfortable .., enough to be concerned ... My reasons are not cosmetic ... I'm just researching preventing a possible difficult situation later on in life ... It's one of those things where you just know your body and its needs ... It's hard to explain ... If anyone has any other information, suggestions, experiences etc .., please share ... My next appt with Dr. Joseph W. Dryer is on May 5th ... If I am going to go through with this .., he is the one to do it ... I just know ... He is a great Doctor in his field ... Thanks again.

    My name is Michal [no e] ...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    6

    Your 2nd surgery ...

    Hello Karen ... How is your condition now since your 2nd surgery?

    Michal

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