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Thread: Removing Hardware

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Staten Island New York
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    298

    Removing Hardware

    Hi
    I had scoliosis surgery in 2007 fused t4-l4 and I am going in on Mar 17, 2009 to have all of the hardware removed because of a staph infection I have had for over 2 years. I have read that people recover quicker from rod removal surgery than the fusion surgery. Can anyone tell me how long you were out of work from the same surgery and the kind of pain med you were on and how long you were on them? Thank you so much.
    Sue

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
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    51
    Hi Sue,

    I was supposed to just have my rods removed too but when they went in, they found that my original fusion hadn't healed properly. So they had to put new rods in. They had rods made beforehand because there is always that possibility. They told me that I would be out of work for 3 weeks when we thought I was only going to have the instrumentation removed. But I ended up being out of work for 6 weeks because of having to have them put back in.

    I was on pain medication for about 2 to 3 weeks afterwards I think? But towards the end I was taking something not quite as strong as Vicodin. It was a few steps down from that. In the beginning, I would set an alarm at night to make sure I took the Vicodin every 4 hours! Once the pain gets past a certain point, it's harder to get it back down even with strong meds. And I was having to sleep with a back brace on which feels like concrete when you've just had back surgery.

    But I was able to ween myself off of them much quicker I think than the first surgery. And overall it was hard but not as bad as the first one. I think the only thing was worse was having to sleep with a back brace for the 1st 3 weeks. I didn't have a brace at all for my first surgery. It was hard to get comfortable.

    Best of luck with everything Sue
    { sarah }

    Posterior Spinal Fusion for a 76 degree curve in 2000 at age 19. Two rods placed, fused from T4 to L2. Curve reduced to a 29.
    One rod broken and noticing increased pain in 2004. Curve progressed to 39.
    March 2007 Revision surgery- Rods removed and discovery of unhealed fusion. Had new rods placed along with new bone from Thoracoplasty and BMP.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,757
    Suzy, I don't know anything about rod removal, but it's good to see you post: I've wondered more than a few times how you were doing since your infection (I remember those posts well where you wrote they'd be removing your rods after fusion).

    Having had MRSA myself in the past (I was premedicated with Bactrim for about 2 weeks prior to my fusion - and IV Vancomycin during/after surgery), I'm curious ... what precautions are being taken to ensure you don't reinfect yourself after closure?

    You're obviously a very strong person: I can't imagine what recovery's been like for you knowing early on you weren't done . That same courage will undoubtably carry you through this last phase, as well, and know that lots of people are pulling for you.

    I'll be thinking of you on the 17th, and hope the surgery goes quickly, smoothly, without complication, and that your recovery is no more than a blip compared to fusion surgery. Please keep us posted on everything!

    Regards,
    Pam
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston area
    Posts
    120
    Hi Suzy,

    I am so sorry that you are facing another procedure, but I am hopeful that this will put an end to the problems you have had. Pam's comments regarding what precautions will be taken to protect you from another infection are great questions to have answered. I hope your medical team has a super-duper plan in place for you.

    Wishing you the luck of the Irish on St. Patrick's Day for a wonderful outcome and a return to a normal life again.

    Linda
    Linda
    Two-stage A/P fusion T6-S1 with lumbar implants June 12 & June 27, 2007 at age 57
    S curve 75+ degrees with kyphosis
    Now 45 degrees and standing 3 inches taller!
    Dr. Frank Rand, New England Baptist Hospital, Boston

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    14
    Suzy,

    I just got home from the Hospital for Special Surgery where I had my rod removed due to a staph infection that became apparent 6 months ago when a lesion appeared on my back that tracked back to the rod.

    I had my rod put in 35 years ago!!

    The rod removal surgery was minor compared to the fusion. My fusion is solid so no new hardware was put in at this time, therefore only soft tissue was involved in the surgery which means much faster healing! The first day was tough and I had a morphine pump. From day 2 through day 7, I improved rapidly and went from using Percoset to Tylenol. I am now 10 days post-surgery and I am sitting, walking, using stairs, all quite comfortable. No bending, twisting, or lifting. I go back to work in two weeks.

    Will you be treated with post-operative anti-biotic infusion? I am on a pump for the next 5 weeks. I find that to be much more of a pain than the surgical recovery.

    Best to you,
    Brooklyn

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
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    Holy cow, Brooklyn! I'm glad they were able to fix you up.

    How do they hypothesize the staph migrated to the hardware after all this time?

    Did you have a systemic staph infection at some point?

    Was the lesion on your back caused by rod infection, or did it *cause* rod infection? Just wondering, as thin as the skin is near the spine, if maybe you developed a skin infection that went deep enough (which wouldn't be all that far) to reach the rod?

    I realize you probably had laminar hooks (based on the age of your hardware), so I'm not sure if you can answer this ...

    When they remove the rods in more modern systems due to infection, do they also remove the pedicle screws - or just remove the set plugs to release the rods? It seems probable if infection was on the rods, it would also be on the screws, no?

    Regards,
    Pam
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    Brooklyn,

    I'm glad you're doing better so quickly. I have questions similar to Pam's--if they remove the hardware, didn't they have to remove screws? It is wild that you would get an infection so many years later.

    Suzy,

    I hope your recovery goes just as smoothly as Brooklyn's. Good luck!
    __________________________________________
    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    14
    All hardware was removed including screws.

    I too wonder how the infection happened. I've had no systemic infection that I know of. Did it enter through some other means such as having a cyst removed or while being tattooed (with sterile instruments) some time over the past 10 years? Or from some small wound I didn't even notice? Or was it hanging out on the rod all these years and my immune system handled it until the balance tipped just enough...?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    My surgeon prescribes antibiotics before every dental procedure for 5 years after surgery -- but this makes me wonder if it's prudent to take them before ANY procedure for a longer length of time.......
    Chris
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
    Pre-op thoracolumbar curve: 70 degrees
    Post-op curve: 12 degrees
    Dr. Boachie-adjei, HSS, New York

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
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    4,342
    Quote Originally Posted by Linda W View Post
    Hi Suzy,

    I am so sorry that you are facing another procedure, but I am hopeful that this will put an end to the problems you have had. Pam's comments regarding what precautions will be taken to protect you from another infection are great questions to have answered. I hope your medical team has a super-duper plan in place for you.

    Wishing you the luck of the Irish on St. Patrick's Day for a wonderful outcome and a return to a normal life again.

    Linda
    I agree. Time for questions with your Doc!
    St Pattys day seems like a good date for surgery! Hope you do well.
    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 62, the new 63...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PSA 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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Staten Island New York
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    298
    Thanks you for your well wishes. I plan on asking my doctor about what precautions he will be taking this time He did say he wants a plastic surgeon to help close me up he said platic surgeons has a closing techinques that can help prevent infection,that didnt make sense to me but i didnt ask why. I will be getting something like a pic in my arm that i will use to put in iv antibiotics (sp) once or twice a day for a couple of months. I am taking my own precautions - I had my first surgery at NYU where i got the infection from but this time I asked to have surgery at the Hospital for Joint Dieease they merged with NYU because their hospital only deals with ortho issues where NYU deals with many sicknesses and a person is more likely to pick up a germ there. I'm sure it can't be as old, dirty and run down as NYU.

    Sue

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    NJ across from NYC
    Posts
    329

    Question for Brooklyn....

    How long did it take for them to remove it? I'm curious because in 2000 I was also at Hospital for Special Surgery - Dr. Harvinder Sandhu - to have my entire rod removed and was told the procedure would take between 1/2 hr. to one hr. Well three hours later, they only took out about 2.5 inches of the top of the rod, where they thought the problem was. He said it was so fused to my spine it would have taken so much longer to have it removed. My rod was in since 1981 and yours certainly longer. I'm glad it was successful for you! Goes to show everyone is different. All the best. Lynn
    Last edited by Jacque's Mom; 03-19-2009 at 11:20 AM.
    1981 Surgery with Harrington Rod; fused from T2 to L3 - Dr.Keim (at 26 years old)
    2000 Partial Rod Removal
    2001 Right Scapular Resection
    12/07/2010 Surgical stabilization L3 through sacrum with revision harrington rod instrumentation, interbody fusion and pre-sacral fusion L5-S1 - Dr. Boachie (at 56 years old)
    06/11/14 - Posterior cervical fusion C3 - T3 (Mountaineer System) due to severely arthritic joints - Dr. Patrick O'Leary (at age 59)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    388
    Suzy, I was out of work for about a month. Recovery was much easier than the original surgery. I took Lortabs for a week or two when needed. Then gradually eased off them. The worst thing about this surgery for me was the muscle spasms that happened after. It seems they were worse than before, so Robaxin was a standby more than Lortabs. Good luck girl!!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    14

    Jacques Mom

    Sorry, it's taken me so long to answer -- my removal surgery was about 2.5 hours.

    Suzy - I too have a PICC line through which I will infuse antibiotics daily for 6 weeks. I found it difficult the first week, but now it's okay. I've started back to work, but by 2PM, I am very fatigued, so I am still using some sick time.

    Brooklyn

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    7,183
    There's a previous discussion on this topic:

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showthread.php?p=24392

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