I had to have emergency thoracic surgery in Jan 2005. Unexpected event. Unaware of fact that spinal cord was slowly being crushed by bony spurs growing into it.
Fast forward to mid 2006 after beggin my surgeon to have a CAT scan done to see how the surgery had gone. (Half T7 and T9 removed and all of T8. Replaced by cages. A week later rods were inserted from T6-T10.) My surgeon, a person of few words and most of them terrifying looked at the CAT scan and said, "Wow, look at this." (Sure) He pointed to the tip of the bottom right pedicle screw and my aorta. There was no 'light' between them. He was very impressed with himself. I went home and had a nervous breakdown as I have severe osteoporosis and my entire spine is affected. I made an appointment to see him and he stated quite snidely that, "This won't kill you."
As I fell three times the week I returned from the hospital, things are not as they should be and I am being treated by a pain specialist. I admit that the stress of worrying about the darn screw is adding to my chronic pain and depression as I feel helpless. The surgeon refused to remove the rods and screws and the ortho/neur people in San Antonio have an unwritten policy that if Dr X operates on your 'C' spine (for example), Dr X will always operate on your 'C' spine. No other dr will touch that part of your spine; though oddly enough my surgeon does not hold to this policy and will re-operate on others' work. So, I'm stuck. Recently read an interesting paper by two German drs about a woman they operated on and had inserted two rods with the inevitable screws. She had complained about the weird abdominal pain since her surgery, (I am so amazed these guys admitted, in a sense, that they had ignored her complaints) a year later they did more tests and 'saw' that one of the screws had pierced her aorta. So, this poor woman had another thorecotomy (I feel for her); they clamped the aorta above and below the piercing, patched the hole, filed off the tips of the screws. Wonder why that isn't a common procedure when inserting screws, unless done after the thorecotomy has been closed.
So, does anyone out there have any suggestions? I am in constant pain and the last few months have brought on weird abdominal pain. There seems to be no use in seeing my former surgeon as he has stated he does not want to remove the rods/screws and he method of communication is difficult to deal with (His first words to me prior to introducing himself were, "You're lucky you aren't paralyzed")no other surgeon will 'work' on my thoracic spine. The TX medical society suggested I hire a lawyer to try and convince the 'God-like' surgeons that they may not refuse to operate based on the fact that another dr has already operated on that part of the spine. Do I have to move out of state? I'm feeling really miserable and wonder if it's worth it to continue. This same surgeon's other 'few words' were, "when we're done with your thoracic spine we need to work on your C and L spine", and my C spine is severly stenotic which affects my gait, bowels, bladder, etc.