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Thread: question for GillyG

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    South Wales, UK
    Posts
    121

    Default question for GillyG

    Hi Gilly, hope you are well? I want to ask you about your rods breaking at L3 as you mentioned in someone else's questions on here. I am not saying I think that my rods are broken as I didn't think they could, but I'm at week 12 post op and I still can't stand up straight. I am bent at the waist and leaning over completely - like a right angle. When I am lying down everything is horizontal. I can sit upright with a lot of effort. I just can't stand up straight and I walk with bent knees whilst leaning drastically to the left.

    I though it was just that I had week tummy muscles, and the physio says my hip flexor muscles are too short to allow me to stand up, my GP keeps going on about "early days", and my friends think my big boobs are too heavy for me to hold the weight ;-)

    I was just looking at all options, surely by 3 months post op I should be at least a little bit better than at week 1?

    I am shorter now than I was before the surgery which was supposed to give me an extra 6cm in height. I am disappointed I'm not taller (being only 5 foot) but I can live with that.

    Please can you tell me your story? Is there a section on here where we can post our individual stories, as sometimes when reading posts I'm not sure of people's back (LOL) stories and whether they have had surgery or not, and what surgery they have had. Anyway, I'm glad they finally discovered the broken rods and you got them fixed x
    I'm 44, I had a scoliosis: thoracic at 49 degrees, lumbar 47 with severe rib rotation. My surgery took place on 28th March 2014, I have 26 screws and 2 titanium rods.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Sheffield, UK
    Posts
    16,238

    Default Re: question for GillyG

    There isn't a specific thread for member's stories at the moment, although one was planned a while back - not sure what happened to that idea!

    Hardware failure is very rare, it only tends to happen if the spine doesn't properly fuse and allows micro movements of the rods themselves which in turn leads to metal fatigue and breakage. This is what happened with me but please don't think that my experience with breaking rods (on a regular basis ) is by any means the 'norm' - I'm about as far removed from 'normal' as you can get!

    Seriously though, the reason my rods broke first time round is that my pelvis sits too far forward of my spinal column causing a distinct lack of any lordosis - almost certainly as a result of having untreated scoliosis for 49 years. This meant that, although I got an amazing result after my first surgery, I did still have a lack of lordosis, even though it wasn't particularly apparent at first. While my spine was still unfused, I could manipulate it subtly to self-correct for the lack of lordosis - not that I realised I was doing this at the time.

    It was only once it was fused that this ability was lost to me, meaning that over the next few years I developed a gradually worsening forward lean. This in turn put increasing pressure on the fusion at the bottom of my spine - specifically at L3 - which meant that the fusion eventually failed at this level and the rods broke due to being allowed to move. Basically it was just metal fatigue.

    My surgeon therefore did an osteotomy at L3, in order to introduce some much needed lordosis, and he replaced the bottom sections of both rods. Now here's where the unfortunate turn of events began - the rods had to be bent quite sharply to follow the contour of the osteotomy, but this resulted in one of them failing very early on in the fusion process. I had this rod replaced very quickly in an attempt to preserve the fusion at the osteotomy site but a few months later the other rod broke, proving that all was not well with the fusion

    So ... back to theatre I went again so that he could redo the osteotomy and, whilst doing so, he came across an area of what he described as 'mobile bone' - bone had formed but was still so soft that he could wiggle my spine back and forth. He removed this completely, refused with nice fresh bone harvested form my iliac crest, replaced both rods (yet again) and we are now hoping that that is the end of it at last!

    As you can see, mine was certainly not a usual turn of events, which is why I don't want you - or anyone else for that matter - to worry unduly that this could also be your fate. Having said that though, I do think your set of symptoms sound rather worrying and I do think you should push to have a review with your surgeon, or even get a second opinion of you don't get anywhere with them.
    Me, a Mod? Nah ... I'll always be a rocker

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    South Wales, UK
    Posts
    121

    Default Re: question for GillyG

    Thanks for taking the time to reply Gilly, gosh you've been through the mill haven't you?! I am so glad that they got everything fixed in the end for you. I have rung the surgeon's secretary and my surgeon is now on three weeks annual leave. I asked if there was anyone else I could see in the meantime and I am waiting to hear back. Realistically I will be seeing my surgeon again in August. I just hope that it is soon enough as I can feel my muscles rebuilding themselves in to this very odd posture, and no matter how hard I try there is nothing I can do to rectify it. My torso feels tight and compacted, and I am definitely shorter than before the surgery. I'll post an update after I have seen her. Thanks again
    I'm 44, I had a scoliosis: thoracic at 49 degrees, lumbar 47 with severe rib rotation. My surgery took place on 28th March 2014, I have 26 screws and 2 titanium rods.

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