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Anyone had reconstructive surgery?

happyHBmomhhappyHBmom Posts: 2,070
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have been looking and looking for information on the type of surgery I'd need and find nothing :( As you can see in my profile pic, my L2 vertebrae is basically gone. I have bone fragments impinging on the thecal sac. My understanding is that he'd have to go in through an anterior incision to cut out that fragment, build up something and fuse the T1 to the T3.

When I look up regular fusions, having bones there is pretty much required, and I'm not sure how needing to get cutting tools in there changes the incision. Also, how does the fact that it's way up there at T1 change the surgery?

Just wishing there was someone with similar surgery to talk to.

Here are some other MRI scans- anyone else out there that looks like me?



  • I think thats me. Is it your Thoracic or Lumbar? You say T1 - 3 and then L2.

    I'm probably headed towards a T1-2 fusion in the next year. If this is where you are going PM me.
  • DOH, no, it's L1/L2. I'm getting dotty.

    I guess I can't fix the original any more. If they fix any thoracic, it would be T12 to stabilize L1, but I doubt it. Do you have a lot of bone loss?
  • Sounds strange but I wish I had bone loss. My surgeon says the only way he can surgically fix my problem would be to take out the whole area where the nerve root is exiting. But when he does this it leave the vertebra unstable so he would have to fuse it. I'm guessing that would be done at the back so that the sides are left open.

    I'm not really excited about doing the surgery again but it wasn't that bad so I can handle it. This time I will definately take more time off after. We didn't really get into the specifics of the restrictions post-op yet. He wants me to try injections or a mylegram first. But I'm not to happy with the idea of either one.

    I also explained to him that if I need surgery I have less than 2 years to get this done. The car insurance is 3 years from date of accident. So the clock is ticking. Right now I'm building up the neurontin. It seems to be helping alot already so maybe this will convince him that the surgery is needed and buy me some time until I am ready.
  • Errr, no, if you look at the MRI, you can see that I have lost 90% of the vertebral height, but, I still have a bone fragment impinging on the nerve that has to be removed, and that also causes stenosis. Trust me, you don't want bone loss- I'm like 1 1/2 " shorter! He has to like go in there with a chain saw or something.

    Trust me, you don't wish for this!
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    The reconstructive type surgery you mention is very similar to what many of us undergo in a spinal fusion. Extra bone and hardware is used to restructure the spine into proper alignment and to make it stable. Some doctors do this with an anterior approach and some do a 360 ( combo front and back). In my case it was a posteriolateral. I have a scar down my back and then a horizontal scar (4") on my hip. They did that instead of the full anterior approach and it was done so they could put in a spacer between L3 and L4 and some additional hardware.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Hmm, he made it seem as though it was a much more major surgery than a standard fusion. I was kind of hoping to find someone who had undergone reconstruction of a major compression/burst fracture of this type.

    Here is the MRI report, just for kicks:

    There is an old compression fracture of L2 vertebral body with at least 90 percent compression in the height of the vertebral body. There is a vertical component to the fracture in the mid-portion of the vertebral body. There is retropulsion of the posterior vertebral body measuring at least 7.0mm, effacing the thecal sac and causing moderate spinal stenosis in this area. The other vertebral bodies are intact. There is desiccation of the majority of the lumbar intervertebral discs. There is no evidence of aortic aneurism.

    Anyway, as you see it's a major deformity, requiring some major work. How long did it take you to recover from your surgery? I call it reconstructive surgery because a surgeon would basically have to reconstruct my L2 vertebrae to realign my spine. No idea how anyone might go about that.
  • Sometimes I get a little well a lot down about how I feel and how many surgeries I've had yadda yadda yadda. Looking at your MRI pic really puts things into perspective. Wow, a lot of us have major crap going on in our backs(and necks) some of it is mind blowing. Sorry I just had to comment I hope you find whatever information you are looking for. There seems to be some very knowledgeable and experienced people here on this forum.
  • Well, in reality I've been quite lucky. Unfortunately my luck is running out and it's causing me more pain so I'm starting to wonder if surgery is in my future. I have never known anyone who's had an injury like this- I've known people who've had compression fractures, but not as bad, and they've all had surgery at the time of the fracture.

  • So nobody has gotten anything like this:



    image ?

    These are reconstructive methods- vertebral body replacements and titanium cages. I guess not. Sigh.

    I don't know if there are any doctors around here who have done this type of surgery, even.
  • Sorry things are a litte discouraging for you. I'm sure there's a doc around somewhere. Do you have a teaching or research hospital around your area? You may have to travel some but there has to be a spine specialist somewhere in your area. Who diagnosed your issues? They should be able to refer you to someone or at least work their butt's off trying to help you out.

    Good Luck!!
  • thx for sharing your mri
    I find it odd too that no one in here has had this done. I have discovered that dif surgeons use dif. verbage when it comes to procedure of their choice. Have you gotton a second opinion? Perhaps another explanation of the procedure will put you at ease. I say this because I have been reading in here for a year of dif procedures, etc & yours sounds like a basic procedure with a dif. name.
    When I say "basic", I am not making light of it, but you know what I mean. Normal verbage in here being "fusion", not "reconstructive".
  • Yes, I go back week after next. I am concerned about how to check credentials. Urgh.

    I am in a major metro area, so you'd think I could find someone! LOL!
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