View Full Version : Revision surgery

06-29-2007, 11:16 AM
Can anyone tell me what revision surgery is like? I had a spinal fusion in 1972 and have a Harrington rod. I guess they don't use these anymore. Do they take them out if you have revision surgery? How long are people laid up afterwards? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

~snowflake *

06-29-2007, 11:33 PM
Hi Snowflake...

In addition to responses you receive here, check out this YahooGroups list:


You'll find a wealth of people there who have had revision surgery.


07-06-2007, 10:44 AM
I had revision surgery and they took out the bottom hook from my rod and extra bone growth that was causing problems. It just depends on the type of problems you are having and the surgeon. I was only in the hospital 3 days and back on my feet in no time. A lot easier than when I had my first surgery in 1975 and spent a month in the hospital and 9 months in a body cast! I didn't even have a brace after my revision surgery.

06-28-2008, 02:58 AM
Oh I can SO relate to your experience with the first surgery. Looking back now, it seemed so barbaric in some ways. I remember the HOT enemas that were used the night before surgery, the metal table (well, really a few metal poles that you laid on) that stretched you apart to apply a plaster mold to make a body cast for the hospital stay, the hard sand bags after the surgery moving you from one side to another every 15-30 min intervals, the long hospital stay, the prism glasses we had to wear in order to watch tv since we couldn't move our head to look at the tv, the riveted hard plastic brace you wore for almost a year after the surgery that you couldn't take off the entire time and had to shower in (boy was that HOT in 90-100 degree weather), etc. Yes, things have changed. I can't say my revision surgeries were any easier though in my case. With each surgery, I did have the old instrumentation removed and new instrumentation added and of course the reconstruction process. Each one of mine got a little more complicated each time as well, such as the surgery itself. The hospital stay is far less, only because insurance don't take care of much any more and they want you out. I can't say this is a good thing in alot of cases, as you are rushed in and rushed out. Snowflake, as far as if your instrumentation is removed or not, that all depends on the person in each case. My Harrington/Luque instrumentation was removed (as I had a broken rod and wires) and was replaced with new hardware because of my flatback deformity, pseudoarthrosis and osteotomies, etc. My second set was also removed and replaced with new hardware because the second surgery was never done properly. My third surgery was the worst out of all of them. My fourth surgery, the rods were removed because a car accident shoved my rods into my spinal cord (cord compression/myelopathy) and caused permanent damage. I am now due for more surgeries and am a mess and will be dealing with this for the rest of my life, but have to say it is MUCH better WITHOUT the hardware regardless. I still have the 8 titanium cages, but it's so much better without the rods, pedicle screws, etc as being a thin person I could never lean back in a chair because the hardware hurt to the touch. The hospital stay varies for revisions, usually with a week stay in the hospital. If you have a flatback deformity because of the Harrington rods, usually the best surgery to correct this is the 3-stage anterior/posterior approach with lumbar osteotomies, anterior interbody cages and fusion, etc. I do have to say that this surgery had to be one of the hardest I have experienced so far (and the longest of course). I would most definately get SEVERAL surgical opinions before settling for surgery, and most definately one from a neurosurgeon. Good luck to you on your revision surgery and please keep in touch!

1981-Harrington/Luque instrumentation T9-L5 for 30 degree thoracolumbar curve.
1990-Revision surgery-Broken hardware/flatback deformity/pseudoarthrosis-Cotrel Dubousett instrumentation with extension into sacrum.
1995-Revision surgery-Severe flatback deformity/kyphosis-Moss Miami instrumentation (T5-sacrum) with titanium cages (back/front/back procedure), thoracoplasty, total reconstruction with osteotomies. (surgeon did surgery while coming down with chicken pox and developed encephalitis with brain damage, etc during 14 hr surgery)
2005-Car accident-spinal cord injury/myelopathy from top of rods/hooks at T5. Surgery to remove hardware, with exception of cages. Permanent damage.
2008-5th surgery pending for severe stenosis in cervical spine, as well as lumbar spine because of prior surgeries.