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Finally! Surgery in dec or jan

happyHBmomhhappyHBmom Posts: 2,070
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I finally got in to see the very busy NS. I will be having complete removal of the L2 vertebral body via lateral incision. It. My spine will be re-aligned and L2 replaced with either titanium or carbon fiber cage with endplates. Then I will unsergo the plif.

So 2 incisions, 2 surgeons, but he thinks that a lot of my issues will resolve.

My ct scan was scary looking :(


  • Wow! congrats.. I'm hoping for the same outcome with mine:)
    You must feel better now knowing there is a date so, now you can prepare for it!

  • God yes, I was so anxious this visit would be cancelled too! My surgeon is so busy, which is a great thing in a surgeon, unless you're the one trying to see him!

    But they set up saturday appointments for all of the cancellations, so I got to see him today.

    And now I have an end to all this. He thinks that between the bone fragments pinching my spinal cord and my misaligned spine, this will allow my spine some real relief.

    But this was the first CT post- accident, and although on MRI and x-ray it looks like the bone is essentially in one piece, when you see it on CT you can see it is fragmented. Really scary!
  • your getting a time frame for surgery. :)

    and he can see the issues more clearly with confidence of some releif!

    yay , so pleased for you

    you probably didnt discuss the differences /pros/cons of titanium V carbon filter cage (you were proll too busy talking surgery.outcome?)

    if you do no the pros /cons, would appreciate any info

  • Yes, we'll be planning it for the first availability of the thoracic surgeon. There is just no guarantee that he will be available before January.

    No, we didn't discuss what would drive his choice of titanium vs. carbon fiber. Honestly, there was so much to discuss and so many questions to ask. I was very focused on exactly what part of the bone they were going to remove, what they were going to replace it with, and what sort of hardware they were going to be putting in. My husband was meanwhile asking a lot of questions about my recovery. It was intense.

    He's very optimistic about recovery, by the way. He thinks there is just so much pressure on my spinal column now, and so much misalignment on my spine, that the correction is going to relieve a lot of issues. Even the usual nerve pain with this type of surgery he thinks will be minimal, because rather than causing more inflammation and pressure he's lifting off a great deal of dural pressure. I am going to go into it with that mindset and hope for a lot of placebo effect ;)

    (eta: I am not sure if you can see in my profile photo- but see how at the top, T12 is aligned kind of parallel with the box, while at the bottom you can see L3 is an angle? that's the L2 in there like a wedge, causing a kyphotic deformity. Now my entire lumbar spine has slipped into retrolisthesis, but he also thinks that will all get better once the kyphosis is repaired).
  • Ms HB,

    Congrats!!! I am so glad they are finally putting everything together for you. That alone must be a megga "stress releaser" for you? Did they say how many levels total? Just looking at your post and the status of the L2, it sounds like a L1/2/3? Super support and happy ****HUGZ**** for ya woman!!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I don't know how many levels they would call it, since L2 will be removed. The screws will be in L1 and L3 rods will connect L1 to L3 and L2 will be replaced by the cage which will be attached by tabs. Is that a 2 level or a 1 level? LOL.

    But, indeed, he didn't see any need for intervening in the lower lumbar at this point. He thinks as I do that most of that is caused by the kyphosis. So all that worry WAS for nothing (thanks silly PM doctor, LOL!).

    By the way, I didn't mention, I should get my date next week.

    Let's see, what else. I'll have about a 15% reduction from "normal" in range of motion, but realistically it will be an improvement since my current ROM is very low. We talked about the bone stimulator, the post-op care and chance that I won't fuse (so I guess it's a 2 level fusion), and I am sure I'll recall more.

    I am very excited about my surgery and the opportunity to have a straight spine to work around. 2010 has been a write-off for me, 2011 here I come!
  • HB,

    If you look at it (new "L2 with cage"), it would be due to the rods and fixation... L1/2 & L2/3 = 2 levels. I remember when you were in 'freak zone' thanks to your PM. I only listen to the spine specialists anymore when it comes to the nitty gritty. PM's are pain guys, not spine guys. I think that is another reason I backed away from them. My NS and GP take care of my pain management...it's working great!! :)

    The ROM change. I'll bet (judging by what I felt with my cervical fusions) that even with a reduced range, since hopefully a LOT of your pain felt in movements now will be gone. Mentally (it did with me), I felt like I got MORE ROM after surgery!! When I could turn and move without the pain, I felt like I could 'move' more thanks to no pain. So you might find it to work out really well once you're all healed up. :) Whooohooo - happy feet for HB!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Well, two things happened. One, my symptoms worsened considerably this year- I went from a fairly active person to a mostly disabled person. And, two, I changed surgeons. Whether the other surgeon would have suggested surgery at this point, I'll never know.

    The thoracic surgeon is to help get to the spine, because they will be doing the vertebrectomy from an incision on my side. He will make sure my lungs, liver, etc make it through the process OK ;) The fusion will be done from the back. T12 is in good shape.

  • Best of luck with your surgery, your post caught my eye when you mentioned the Thoracic surgeon. When I had my surgery the Ortho had a Vascular surgeon for the ALIF portion then 2 days later the ortho did the PLIF.
    Any way best of luck and God Bless...Keep us informed
  • So happy for you that you will soon be having your surgery. It can be a long road waiting. Wishing you all the best, and some much needed pain relief.
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • I am glad to hear your surgery will be coming up here, really soon.

    It will be so nice to get everything over and done with, so you can be on the way to recovery and have your daily pain tremendously reduced! <:P

    Don't look at the scans. There is no need to. Mike places all of mine in our very top shelf in the closet along with the discs. Our spines don't take pretty pictures right now, so why look at them?

    We will be anxiously awaiting your surgery date and you know we will be here to support you before, during and after your surgery.

    Focus on the positive outcome... pain relief after your recovery, k?

    Tammy ;)
  • I had to look up thoracic surgeon when I got home ;)

    What is a Thoracic Surgeon?
    A thoracic surgeon is a medical doctor who performs operations on the heart, lungs, esophagus, and other organs in the chest. This also includes surgeons who can be called cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiovascular surgeons, general thoracic surgeons, and congenital heart surgeons.
    from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons website.
  • I'm so happy that it won't be too long before your surgery. Keep as busy as you can preparing for your surgery and recovery and importantly, keep giving yourself little treats. I used to go out and buy myself something nice like a CD or DVD or a new top, and it made me feel good for a while.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Thanks HB,

    Honestly *my* focus on the title "Thoracic Surgeon" really was limited to the spine! Wow, pretty interesting indeed. Thanks. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi HB,

    So glad to hear you have a target for your surgery. It sounds like a complex procedure but your surgeon sounds like he has it all well-planned out. With a thoracic surgeon there to watch out for you, it sounds like you'll be in very good hands. I'll be anxious to know your surgery date--well, not more anxious than YOU are, lol.

    Take care, relax into the idea of this surgery, and know that I and others on the forum will be praying for you!

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
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