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2nd surgery Spinal fusion yes or no

From: lanisha - on 04/15/2010 11:20pm

I had spinal fusion surgery 17 years ago(15 years old), single rod implantation. Rod is implanted in T2-L2 . At that time my congenital scoliosis(birth) was going to curving over 55% and it was going to cause more problems as I continued to grow. After all these years of living with my rod. I learned that I developed osteoarthritis at age 22 in right hip where a bone graft was removed. This has been a trying time for me but Rx pain meds has helped keep it under control. Now the single rod implantation has broken and is viewed as 2 rods. Recently I have developed an increase amount of pain from T3-T10 and increased amount of losing a sensation in my legs. I have a TENS unit to help with the pain, but with my discomfort, I do not where it close to my spine. I was inquiring about others opinion to have a second surgery to remove the broken rod and have the fusion from 1992 assessed while open. I am able to take time off from work for a length of time to heal if I decide to have a spinal surgery. I have an appointment with pain doctor in 2 weeks about more option.

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20 Responses

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on 04/18/2010 12:18am

Lanisha god bless u hun *hugs* u've been on quite the journey. I don't have a lot of advice, just know there are ppl who care and await ur dr's appt with u!!!!

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on 04/18/2010 3:15am

Lanisha,

It sounds as if there is not much choice of having surgery again.

What I think is the best thing anyone should do is go with many opinions like you will get in a university setting. I have gone and also know people that have visited the University in Gainsville,fla. I feel better having many minds working together to figure out the best solution.

You have the lastest and greatest there, I think.

Good Luck.
Katie

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on 04/30/2010 8:59pm

I went to the pain doctor Wednesday and we discussed injections and other methods to assist with my pain. He explained to me that process of injections and where they are administered. He indicated that he would not have me complete any injections if I am not comfortable. I refused any injections because I would not be comfortable with the process. We discussed my increase in taking my Naproxen prescribed by my medical doctor for everyday. He suggested that I try a pain patches called Flector. I agreed to the patches. I just started using it today and it has helped a little. We’ll see how they work as time goes. I also have not had any scoliosis x-rays for over a year. I completed those yesterday and I am awaiting his response for any changes.
What do you all know about Acupuncture? My dad mentioned this to me but I am not familiar.

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on 05/01/2010 10:11am

You poor thing. All I know is when I had my first spinal fusion, I knew that the pain couldn't possibly get any worse then what I already had. It made me better at the time but 23 years later I am right back to square one. facing more surgery. I plan on getting several more opinions before I decide what I am going to do.
It's emotionally painful for me because I broke my back and was in the hospital for 3 months.
Lanisha Good luck.
Sandy

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on 05/01/2010 3:19pm

Ive never had acupuncture myself altho id like to try it someday. I have friends who have tried it and they really enjoyed it. Hope it helps you!! *hugs*

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on 05/10/2010 10:12pm

I had acupuncture (for GI issues, not back pain) and I thought it helped tremendously for the first couple of days and more mildly for the rest of the week. The 2nd time I tried it it still helped, but not as dramatically as the 1st. The good thing is the pins don't hurt! And I am not brave. So don't be worried about pain, there isn't any there. The cost and time to go to the acupuncturist are the only problems.

I came here looking for spine info for my 10 year old child, who has scoliosis at 43 degrees that's getting worse and not improving at all with the brace (and my child has been perfect about wearing the brace 16 hrs a day). Of course they've recommended surgery. If you could do it all over again, would you still have the 1st spinal fusion?

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on 05/20/2010 9:57pm

smileybuyer - I would have the surgery again b/c my curve b/f the surgery was over 50 degrees. I was still growing at 15 and I would have had more back problems. If the curve was not as severe, I would have waited until I stopped growing. Then decided if the surgery was needed at that time. Everyone's case of scoliosis is different.

I forgot to mention that my Scoliosis developed during my growth in the womb because the spine did not form straight. I was amazed that this could be found out.

I have an appointment with Orthopedic Surgeon on June 4th and I will be asking him some additional questions and get his opinion. The pain patches have helped but I can only were them for 12 hours. I know nothing takes the pain away 100% of the time.

I will let everyone know what was discussed.

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on 05/20/2010 10:00pm

Additional information.....

I wonder if my spine not forming correctly in the womb is because I was born 2 months premature and weighed only a pound.

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on 05/22/2010 3:34pm

Hello Lanisha,
My son had harrinton rods in his spine from top to bottom 20 years ago now; his curvature at the time of surgery was 47%.. I just had disc replacement ten weeks ago in the neck. I remember sitting with my son 24/7 for ten painful days back then and watched the other patients in the ward most of who were having disc replacement... what a difference to today.
All I can say is that surgery these days seems a lot more minimally invasive and the pain meds they have are a lot better. After my anterior discectomy I was eating at Denny's the next day and while there was some discomfort with swallowing while I would have it again in a heartbeat to relieve pain. Whenever there is the sensation of losing your legs as you mentioned, it would seem that the spine is getting seriously pressured. I am not a doctor but I guess I am saying that I hope you know that surgery these days is a lot easier than when you had surgery before. Good luck and I hope you get help here.
Chloe

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on 05/22/2010 8:34pm

Thanks cmiller.. I was thinking about what you said regarding the pain. I did not feel much of my back pain after that surgery. I am a triplet and my sister was experiencing most of the my pain. I have always thought that was interesting.

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on 05/23/2010 11:40pm

I would look at surgery ONLY as a last resort. Please pursue all other options before you have another surgery. I had a cervical spinal fusion 8 years ago & now I am having the same problems all over again, caused from the surgery. I am having a procedure done tomorrow called RFL (radiofrequency lesioning) where they go in & burn the nerves causing the pain. I am hoping it will help. I refuse to have another surgery, it just causes complications later on.

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on 06/27/2010 9:24pm

Putting surgery thoughts on hold for the rest of the year as I work on loosing weight by working out at Curves. However arthritis in right hip has increased tremendously in the last 2 week. Going to see pain doctor on Wednesday to discuss. I have a TENS unit and flector pain patches that I wear. Neither has alleviated the pain. It is getting so bad that I limp through out my day and I have to explain to my clients why I am walking the way I do. I do not like showing my client how vulnerable I am in my ability to assist them through out the day with there needs. I have refrained from taking my Naprosyn because I do not like taking a lot of ibuprofen(family meds) because of the sodium content. I do take my vicodin or flexeril when the pain is so bad and I need to get some rest to relieve the pain.

Does any anyone have any ideas as to why the Arthritis pain in (right hip) has resurfaced even though I am exercising 3 days a weeks for 30 mins?

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on 07/08/2010 12:09am

Lanisha:
I am 8 years post-op 2nd scoliosis surgery. I had 2 Harrington rods removed and original fusion of T4 - L4 extended to S1 plus SI joints done at age 42. I don't recommend it for the faint at heart but my level is 1/10th what it was before. I was suffering from Flatback Syndrome and had lost my lordorsis in my lower spine. I had Spondylolisthesis L4-L5 and degenerative disc disease everywhere else. What I do recommend is researching your doctor carefully and not being afraid to travel if the better doctor is somewhere else. I went from UT to TX and even got my insurance to pay for it.
You sound like you are in so much pain. My life is so much better now that the pain is gone. I can walk and shop and sit and sleep... It has added 10 or more years onto my life and taken them off of my face!
Good Luck! From one twisted sister to another!

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on 07/15/2010 6:24pm

Lanisha,

I truly feel for you. You have been through too much. I had 2 cervical spine fusion surgeries and still no pain relief. The patch and TENS are pretty useless, given your condition. They are simply too lightweight. I would definitely look into acupuncture. I had it and it did help somewhat. Since we are all different, there is no way to tell if it will help you.

The good thing about acupuncture is that it is relatively harmless so it will either help or not. But at least it won't harm you. Since my life is constant pain all I can say is that the thing that helps with pain the most a positive attitude and little or no stress. Of course I have to take pain meds and they help. I also take a muscle relaxer. I am learning that meditation and reducing stress help to cope with the pain.

As for your arthritis, that should be expected due to the fusion surgery. Exercise is great and essential to your general health, but it will not prevent arthritis.

Oh one other suggestion for pain is to laugh. Believe it or not just laughing is a major help. I watch stupid comedy shows just to help me feel better. My doctors all agree with meditation, stress reduction, laughter, and more and more acupuncture.

Good luck and stay strong. Oh and don't hesitate to take Vicodin for the pain. You need it and it helps. So don't fight it. Same thing with the muscle relaxers.

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on 07/25/2010 9:38am

UTtwistedSis,

Who was the doctor that you used in Texas and where is he located? I am in Texas and would like to find a good back surgeon.

How long after surgery did it take you to feel up tp traveling back to UT?

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on 07/29/2010 11:30pm

I am in Ohio

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on 11/09/2010 11:26pm

I met with the spine surgeon today. He said that the rod has fused well at the Thoracic and lumbar section of my back. There is no harm to the spinal cord even though the rod is broken. There is now Arthritis on my left side(iliac crest) as well. So I have Osteoarthritis on both sides of my hip. Hew feels I have discomfort in the middle of my back b/c of my weight, poor posture(which is normal) for Scoliosis, and my increased breast size(runs in the family). He mentioned that I should look into a breast reduction in the future to help decrease some of my discomfort.

I have to exercise more, try to be more aware of my posture and my weight. I weigh 172 and all of my weight is centered around my stomach (apple shaped)and breast. Well we'll see what the winter brings for the ability to exercise.

At this time he will not recommend surgery b/c it might not help w/ my painful discomfort. What do you all think?

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on 06/25/2011 4:32am

Lanisha, my heart goes out to you! I've had spinal fusion of L4, L5 & S1, plus total right hip replacement. Now I have a problem with L3, right above the fused discs, and I'm trying to figure out what to do about it.

I am on much stronger pain meds than you. Even with my Fentanyl patches (75 mcg/hr) and Percoset (Oxycodone) 30 mg/day, I find that my anti-inflammatory makes a huge difference. I am sorry to hear you're not taking it. By the way, Naproxen Sodium is not the same drug as Ibuprofen. I wouldn't even take either of those; I'd try a prescription anti-inflammatory. I take Etodolac (Lodine) 500 mg twice a day, and if I don't take it, I really notice that my pain and stiffness is worse.

Another thing that helps me a lot is wearing a back brace. I actually have 3 of them. 2 are post-surgical and have a large, hard front and back. But I also have a $39 Ace Back Support that I can pull very tight and it will even fit under clothing. You can get one at Walgreens. I'd check with your orthopedic specialist first to make sure it's okay to wear one with your scoliosis.

It sounds to me like your amount of pain is causing a lot of stress on your body. Maybe you need to get a second opinion. As for acupuncture, I know there are people who say it helps, but at best all it does is release some serotonin to temporarily mask your pain. It most certainly will not correct anything. I don't think any reputable specialist would advise it. I would stick to good doctors who specialize in your condition, and then do what they tell you instead of second-guessing them. If you really think they're telling you the wrong thing, then seek another opinion. I would never try to decide on my own what I will and won't do.

I have had to keep my weight down because every extra pound hurts. A lot.

I hope my suggestions help some. I can tell you've been through so much, and you're still trying to work for a living with all that discomfort. God bless you!

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on 07/20/2011 3:07am

Lanisha, I am a veteran of five back surgeries, L5-S1; L4; L3; L2 and placement of rods and hardware from my L5-S1 to T12 for adult scoliosis. When I read about your situation I immediately said, "Yes, girlfriend have that surgery, that rod needs to be replaced." But I strongly recommend that you go see a Neurosurgeon. This type of doctor specializes in spine and brain surgery, you are wasting your time with a pain doctor. Also, at this point don't let them talk you into physical therapy or injections for the pain because you are beyond that which is something a neurosurgeon will automatically see. Good luck girlfriend and God Bless.

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on 04/21/2012 2:13am

Update; I was born with scoliosis(curvature), rod implanted (T4-L2) when I was 15 yr old to stop my spine from curving, Arthritis in left HIP at 20 and same in right HIP at 25. Now rod is broken in 2(not 1 whole piece). I have begun to meet with a neurosurgeon who works with my primary physician and pain specialist. The neurosurgeon told me thursday (4/19/12) that I now have DDD(bones under L2 end of rod) are deteriorating and causing more pain. I already have levoscoliosis, kyphosis and stenosis. I have just realized that the Lord made me this way at Birth for my purpose in life to share with others and learn from others. My pain specialist has given me a muscle relaxer and Tylenol codeine to take when the pain is so bad but I do not like taking pain pills if it will impair my ability to go about my day. I have a pain patch that I wear in place of oral meds but most days it does not provide the usual relief. My neurosurgeon suggested I started an injection to help the DDD pain I have. I informed the neurosurgeon doctor that I am against being awake for these because of the sensitivity I have about my back. He told me that I will be sedated. I will see how the 1st injection goes before I decide to proceed with another. I have lost 30 pounds in the last year due to my Diabetes dx. I needed to loose this amount of weight any way.

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