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pedicle screw piercing aorta

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
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.


  • Hi Mamartinek,
    I would find another surgeon ASAP.Even if it means going out of state.That may be difficult for you to do,but I would at least call someone else!I'm sure there are some other Texans on here that will have better insight on the matter than I do.Be careful.
    Keep us up to speed on what you do. Take care Sagehen
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    Hey mamartinek,
    I understand your concerns, it's the unknown and what could possibly happen situations that wear on us mentally. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance that we may interpret from our medical professionals. I sometimes get the same feeling that you have said here in your post. On the other side of the coin I guess I want a confident surgeon that I can trust to do what is best for me. Now to see it through a dr's eyes, would I as a surgeon want to touch somebody's spine that has been repaired by another surgeon. I asked a Dr that same question point blank at my last visit for an unrelated medical issue. Her answer was "most likely not."
    I can honestly understand, in my profession I would not want to make a repair to something that has been previously repaired by another technician
    although the consequences for me are not as serious as that for a surgeon.
    But I do honestly sympathize with you, like you I sometimes feel trapped with the idea that I am stuck with one neurosurgeon and no one else to turn to.
    Take care,
  • I would suggest you call the Texas Back Institute in/near Dallas, explain your situation and see if they would be willing to take you on. I would think they would.

    It has an international reputation and I believe takes cases that others consider beyond their technical abilities.

    Please let us know what happens. I would certainly not want to return to that surgeon!!
  • Im curious what was done . My surgeon has put me in the same boat and I am scared I have also had admonial pain since my surgery. I had a second opinion and he tells me its too dangerous to touch, I have the same pedicle screw indenting my admonial aorta. I too am scared for my life I walk around with this in my back and has cost me so much stress too. Im scared for my life. My future what does it hold will I die in my sleep one day. Will it be too late for help. Im scared too death ;literally. Help. i dream of my death everyday, Im depressed and I have to talk to someone Im so scared of dying. It was found in a ct scan when I had adominal pain . I have been told colitis . Really ? Or is it the screw piercing my aorta. Help ! I HAVE TWO children I want to see get married and grow old with there children. I feel helpless, Can i trust anyone else. Im now scared to touch it. but Im scared not to do something also. Please help any experience with this ? i need help.
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