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Imaging Required Post Surgery?

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  • Imaging Required Post Surgery?

    Hi there everyone, I'm new to this forum and just think it is absolutely WONDERFUL!

    I am in my 3rd yr of medical imaging and right now working at a clinical placement in hospital. I recently completed a case study on scoliosis and learned quite a bit actually considering I've lived with it since birth Lol

    Anyways, I said to my coordinator that harrington rods seem to have faded out since my time and also that I'd wished my dad had kept the films because I'm sure the hospital has disposed of them by now.

    She responded with, "well, haven't you had any since?", and was shocked when I answered no.
    I wondered why; after all I have had no pain associated to the scoliosis...just normal back aches now and then.

    I have tried to find some definite answer, and as yet have not been successful. If the scoliosis has been corrected and the pt does not suffer bad pains/comfort, do they need to follow up periodically for imaging??

    I still have quite the curve and a shoulder blade protruding, but nothing that disrupts my daily life routines. I'd pursue it if it really should be done (no images at all since surgery in 1985 age 10), but at the same time, as an x-ray tech...I now it's a big dose if I don't need it.

    I dunno what to do!
    Help please (& thank you!! )

    ~**~ Congenital Scoliosis w associated radial clubhand/thumb aplasia ~**~
    *~2 Harrington rods + fusion in 1985 (age 10) by Dr.W Bobechko, Toronto~*
    23 yrs post op...have 3 kids, training to be MRT, next to nil pain!
    Last edited by MRTmum; 11-12-2008, 09:46 PM.

  • #2

    I think the main reason for diagnostic imaging for long-since post-op spines is the determine the cause of pain/problems. If you don't have any symptoms, you would never undergo any invasive treatment just based on some abnormal radiologic finding. So it would seem like common sense that you don't need to have any more radiation right now if you are not having problems.

    I had a fusion of L4-S1 in 1984 for spondylolisthesis. I had no imaging at all of my back for the past 24 years because I really didn't have any problems. I developed pain and tingling about a year ago, and was shocked to find out I had a pseudoarthrosis at L4-L5...I assume it never healed properly. But I am glad I didn't know about it, because I would have never considered any type of revision surgery in the absence of major symptoms. I am still not ready for surgery!

    I imagine if your original surgeon thought you needed regular follow-up over the years you would have been advised at that time.

    Take care,
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1

    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable


    • #3

      I think it's up to the patient. Most of the surgeons I know tell their patients that after a year, they can decide whether to return or not. But, I know people who go back every year for new x-rays, even without being symptomatic of anything. If a pt is having no issues, I can't imagine why they 1) expose themselves to all that radiation and 2) use valuable medical resources without a need.

      Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
      Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
      Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation


      • #4
        Originally posted by anna_maria
        All the best for you Linda!!!
        Just curious--do you have Scoliosis?
        Mom to Jamie age 21-diagnosed at age 12-spinal fusion 12/7/2004-fused from T3-L2; and Tracy age 19, mild Scoliosis-diagnosed at age 18.


        • #5
          I think you get follow up x-rays like every 5 years or something even as a adult.
          Awww that is upsetting! Yeah the x-rays now are on CDs as you may know. They are so much nicer to transport and store. I remember when I got my first it was a film and my aprents were like "DON'T BEND IT!"


          • #6
            Originally posted by S4Sarah View Post
            I think you get follow up x-rays like every 5 years or something even as a adult.


            Not true. Like Linda said, every patient is different. I know adults who have never been x-rayed or seen by a doctor once they are one year post-op unless they are having problems.

            Mary Lou
            Mom to Jamie age 21-diagnosed at age 12-spinal fusion 12/7/2004-fused from T3-L2; and Tracy age 19, mild Scoliosis-diagnosed at age 18.