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Thread: 2 Years Post-Op Update

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Smile 2 Years Post-Op Update

    (*Note* Sorry, I think I might've posted this in the wrong section. I meant to post it in a different section.)

    Hey everyone! Okay, so I just wanted to share some of the stuff that my surgeon said at my most recent appointment (plus I have a couple of questions...questions that I probably should've asked at my appointment, but I tend to blank out all the time at appointments and such).

    Overall it was a really great appointment. In the words of my surgeon, it was "graduation day" for me from his office. I was given no follow-up date, although he did say that if I ever have any problems or need to see him I'm more than welcome no matter what my age. Okay, so moving on to what happened during the appointment. For some background info, I was fused to L3. But with the way my curve went I could have been fused to L4 or L5. My surgeon just wanted to give me as much flexibility as possible (which I am very thankful for, since I dance). Because he did this, though, my spine was slightly curved underneath the fusion. According the xrays I just took, that curve got a bit worse and is starting to tilt my pelvis again. He told me not to worry about it and that it shouldn't get any worse than it is now. Although now I am wondering how it even got a little worse, considering my last appointment was when I was almost a full year post-op and any "settling" should've been done by then. Anyone else have this problem? Probably something I should've asked when I was there, but again, I kind of blanked out.

    Also, I told him about pain I've been having for a while now. I have both general achy-ness (sp? lol), as well as some pretty sharp pains at the top of my fusion. He told me that the hardware looks good, so the only thing I can really do is yoga/pilates/anything to keep strong and flexible. He told me that the upper back can sometime be problematic because the muscles apparently run across at the upper back, while they run vertically at the lower back. So I guess pain is just a long-term side effect of this kind of surgery? Kind of depressing lol.

    Anyway, just wanted to share and hear from others who may have been told similar/the same things. I am incredibly happy that I was dismissed from my doctor and feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders lol. Of course, now I'm just slightly worried that the part of my spine that is curved again will cause problems in the future. But he said not to worry, and if it does cause problems it probably won't be for a very long time. So I am still extremely happy. Oh, and sorry this is so long. If you actually read it all, thank you very much.
    Nicole//18 years old, college sophomore//50 degree thoracolumbar curve//Posterior Spinal Fusion in 2008, Fused T5 to L3

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
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    3,531

    things

    Nicole

    Glad to see you are doing fine.

    Actually there has been quite a bit of discussion here about "things" after and under your fusion. You might want to search or dig through the forum or we can just try to keep this thread as sticky as possible till someone responds.

    I've been skiing, and its been great. The "no crash" rule has curtailed my velocity, but I'm good with that. Have you gone snowboarding?

    Y'all take it easy now. LOL
    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  3. #3
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    Sep 2003
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    Northern California
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    Hi Nicole...

    While your surgeon is correct, that you shouldn't worry about the curve below your fusion, it certainly can increase. Mine has. I had about 8 good years after my surgery, but all of the pain symptoms returned, and I will eventually have to have the fusion extended. My advice to you is to do some core strengthening exercise to see if you can hold off any potential progression.

    Good luck.

    Regards,
    Linda

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    238
    Linda-

    I was wondering, if you have to have the fusion extended in the future, do they have to take out the original rods and do the big surgery all over again, or do they just add on to the original rods and attach short rods with a smaller, more minimal surgery? In June, I will have surgery from T4-L3, but my surgeon did tell me that 20 years or so after the original surgery I may have to have another surgery correct the degeneration under the original surgery at L4, L5 and the S1. I was just hoping that I wouldn't have to go through another big operation in the future like I am about to have in June and that they could just extend the rods or do something not as invasive.

    Thanks,
    JenM

  5. #5
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    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    Hi Jen...

    Most of the time, they connect the new implants to the old implants. Sometimes, there's a reason to remove the old implants and remodel the fusion mass by performing osteotomies, but I think that's relatively uncommon unless your implants are Harrington rods.

    I'll be anxious to hear how your surgery goes. From what I've heard, it's usually a much easier surgery than the original.

    Regards,
    Linda

  6. #6
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    Sep 2009
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    238
    Hi Linda,

    Thanks for the response. Think you may have misunderstood me though because my question was a little confusing. I am getting my first surgery this June (I'm not getting my 2nd surgery this June). My question was about a 2nd surgery twenty years down the road from now.

    Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Sep 2003
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    Northern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by JenM View Post
    Hi Linda,

    Thanks for the response. Think you may have misunderstood me though because my question was a little confusing. I am getting my first surgery this June (I'm not getting my 2nd surgery this June). My question was about a 2nd surgery twenty years down the road from now.

    Thanks.
    OOPS, sorry.

    There is always the possibility, but I don't actually know the odds. The one big reason, to me, for selecting the best possible surgeon, is that the best surgeons seem to know which levels to fuse to avoid this as much as possible. If the lowest instrumented vertebrae is stable, I think the risk of requiring additional surgery goes way down. My postop films show my L3-L4 disc and L4 vertebra to be tilted.

    --Linda

  8. #8
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    Sep 2009
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    I am going to Dr. Boachie in NYC at the Hospital for Special Surgery. From what I hear he is supposed to be one of the best surgeons in the East Coast. He is stopping at L3 because that is a good disc. The discs underneath at L4 and L5 have moderate degeneration and I think that's why he mentioned there is a possibility I would need another surgery in the future, like 20 years from now. He wants to preserve my mobility so that's why he isn't fusing further down.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2009
    Location
    San Jose, CA
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    Hmm, your case seems pretty damn close to mine.

    I also needed to be fused close to L4-L5 and he fused me to L3 to save some flexibility as well. I saw the x-rays, I guess they look good, but I'm worried that L4-L5 will bend a little more than expected and I would need future surgery or w/e. I also don't want it to bend and bring me back all the pain/symptoms I had before surgery because they sucked.

    Do you have any pictures of your x-rays? I would love to see some pictures to see if they are similar to mine. Thanks
    John

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    59
    Ed- I'll definitely do some searching around, thanks. And interesting that you mention skiing as I have been wondering about that. I don't think I mentioned anything about it on this forum though.

    Linda- Oh geez. I am very sorry. I still find it really interesting that it can increase over the years. I guess it's not like progression when you're growing, where it just stops when you're done...it seems to be more like the spine trying to return to it's original curved state. Idk. But at least I don't have to worry about it now. And even if I did need to get it extended (though hopefully not!) at least I'd have many years with more flexibility as opposed to it all being taken away to begin with. That little bit of flexibility means a lot to me as a dancer! Lol. I wish you the best of luck if you do in fact have to get your fusion extended! Thanks for the help.

    Okay, I just have one more question. I was dismissed from my surgeon's office, but I'm supposed to get checked periodically still as an adult right? Or do you just go if you have pain? How often do most of you guys go in to see your doctor just for periodic check-ups? Thanks a bunch!
    Nicole//18 years old, college sophomore//50 degree thoracolumbar curve//Posterior Spinal Fusion in 2008, Fused T5 to L3

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by danceISlife View Post

    Okay, I just have one more question. I was dismissed from my surgeon's office, but I'm supposed to get checked periodically still as an adult right? Or do you just go if you have pain? How often do most of you guys go in to see your doctor just for periodic check-ups? Thanks a bunch!
    I personally don't think there's any motivation for getting regular checkups unless you have symptoms.

    --Linda

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