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Scoliosis, Harrington rod ‘73, then flat back revision

Started by DanaMarie on 05/01/2019 4:39pm

Hi to all scoliosis members.
I had scoliosis as a teen, S curve, severe enough we opted for surgery. Fused T5 to L3, total bedrest for 3 months and in a body cast for 9 months. That’s how they did it back then. Great way to start high school in a body cast. Surgery was totally successful. I did great. I had 4 kids, was very active. Then things really started falling
apart 18 years later. Lots of pain, sciatica, pitching forward and sideways, literally sliding off my own spine. So much pain and hard to stand or walk for any length of time. You know the story if you’ve been there! Started talking to surgeons, and getting several opinions. It was difficult finding a surgeon I felt confident to do such a big and complicated surgery. Several opinions and surgeon consultations later, I ended up going to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. I had A/P fusion, down to S-1. They left my rod in because it was so embedded in bone. Just cut off the bottom rod and hook. Whew! It was a very BIG surgery! I was 43 and it was a tough recovery. Had numbness in both feet, and was worried about the outcome. They did get better, post op visit the neurosurgeon said he was just grateful I had control of my bowels and bladder. Alrighty then! Tingling feet I can live with. So my posture was better, lots of new hardware, pedicle screws, plates, a couple of osteo wedges. So grateful I healed and have done relatively well the last 18 years. I realize not everyone has a positive result and my heart goes out to anyone of you suffering from debilitating PAIN.

My question to you “older” fused members: how are the rest of your bones and joints holding up? My knees are shot, and my ankles are too! Osteoarthritis is taking over my body. I’ve also noticed I’m pitching forward some again and having additional pain in my buttocks and hip. I truly believe my body has had to adapt to having a back fused from T-5 to S-1 and these additional symptoms are because of the degeneration of my skeletal system. I’m now 62 years young, and still want to remain active. What the heck! So I had one total knee, and it has been really difficult to regain a normal gait. Not too anxious to get my other knee done. It has really messed with my posture, my body is fighting this new straight leg! And then my ankles, joints are totally messed up. Cortisone injections are helping, but at some point I’ll need more surgeries. Do I just have bad bones or has anyone else experienced this? After back revision surgery, I’m wondering if yet another revision will be necessary?

Thanks for letting me share. (Vent). I am so grateful I can walk, even if I am limping. Just want to know if anyone else has struggled post total knee and balance? Or if you’ve needed additional back surgeris. Maybe they only last 18 years and then warranty is up! Experiences? I want to hear them.

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4 Responses


Have rods from T4 down to S1 and then had to have shoulder replaced.arthritis all over my body but knees are ok.


By the way I'm 72 yrs old


Talked to soon fell and broke my patella and I'm stuck in bed for quite awhile.


Just seeing this, DanaMarie, but I can tell you that after a successful 16-level spinal fusion I did gradually notice that my gait was off, and my knees and ankles started hurting. I'm now in physical therapy for my gait. I had PT after the back surgery and three hip replacements, but this one is to help me put it all together, so to speak. I would recommend PT. But if you have osteoarthritis, you likely need an anti-inflammatory as well. I recommend having a PT do a gait analysis so they can determine exactly what's wrong and what needs fixing. Good luck to you!