Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Three year post op infection after spinal surgery

autumqueenaautumqueen Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Scoliosis
Son born with severe cerebral palsy. At 12 went into puberty and by 13 had an 82 degree curvature. Had surgery...2 rods posterior with one cross bar, 6 screws, three each side in the lumbar region and wires. Between then and 15 he grew more, developed crankshaft where there was worsening of the curve and rotation of the vertebrae and ribcage. The cross bar pushed on the skin from the inside and eventually caused an infection. At 15 he had surgery. They removed the rod and cleaned things out, did the vacuum thing and went back in two days later and cleaned and closed up.

The bacteria's identified were coagulase negative staph & Propionibacterium acnes. After two years on antibiotics in an attempt to keep the bacteria on the hardware they broke loose and he has another sinus tract about halfway between the last one and the behind. It's on it's 4th round of getting ready to release some puss. The infection is between L2 and L3. That's the general area of some of the screws. Because he has been diagnosed with severe restrictive lung disease he is no longer a candidate for surgery, plus the ortho surgeon said she hadn't realized how much he had rotated. The left rod is more like on the left side and very embedded. It was agreed between her, the pulmonologist and ourselves that surgery and total removal of the hardware was not an option. If anything it would probably kill him. Not long after that he developed regular bladder infections and even more issues with retention/cathing etc. He is now at home on in home hospice. I tell myself that the odds that the infection after a year of the bacteria running loose, slow growing or not, not being in the bones...especially where the screws go into the vertebrae..are slim. Wondering if anyone has had experience with having had spinal surgery and developing a later onset infection and did it invade the vertebrae or the disc area.

Thank you


  • Didn't mention that his last curve measurement was 90 degrees between T5 and L4. That was about a year ago. It's a broad based right curve which has pretty much made the righ lung not useable other than the upper right area and has caused the left lung to be larger than the right lung and doing most of the work. He has a stable 70-74 degree kypho/lordosis curves. The rotation and curve has pushed the right kidney up and back and a year ago it had mild hydronephrosis.

    The primary issue for us now is pain control. He is unable to communicate and has a high pain tolerance. We try to understand what the effect of all of this is on the nerves coming out of the spines, what kind of pain he might be experiencing. After 11 days of a lot of pain and discomfort he is now on a small morphine patch and a small dose of liquid morphine for break through issues. A lot of his pain or discomfort seems to be at night or late afternoon. Repositioning sometimes helps. We are also starting to see signs with the left foot (it suffered sciatic nerve damage during hamstring surgery) of swelling, redness, warmness (it's normally ice cold) and then the skin peeling off on the ball of his foot and toes. It did that right after the hamstring surgery and that is when they discovered the nerve had been over extended and he was paralyzed from the top of the leg down for a while. The drop foot never went away and he has never been able to move that foot again. We are wondering if the episodes we are seeing is related to pressure on the sciatic which would also explain the pain.
  • I wish that I had some sort of info that could help you but I do not. I just felt that I needed to tell you how sorry I am that you all are going through this. I can't imagine what it must be like but please know that you are not alone...we are all here to help as much as we can. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers and if you ever need to talk then please just let me know....take care hon!!!
  • I agree with Priestess we are kind of at a loss what to say - stay strong and come here to vent whenever you need, know that you were trying to give him the best care of life possible...as any mother would.
    It really breaks my heart how you describe him suffering, I assume they have checked both the circulation to the foot and the nerve damage. I really wish you and him some rest and relief.
  • Thank you for your responses...even if just for support. Appreciate it. Back when they realized that the sciatic nerve had been over stretched during hamstring surgery they did tests etc...was weird watching them stick the needles in his leg from the behind down to the foot and no response at all...he was laughing at his dad who was keeping him entertained. Then they did the right leg and we saw the total difference...he totally felt it and wasn't too happy.

    Most of what we are doing now, via in home hospice, is pain management. Actually we now call it "Pain Guessing"...because it could be issues with the sciatic nerve due to the infection on the back causing pressure in that lower area of the lumbar...could be bone infection in the L-2, L-3 area, who knows? The hard part at times is for 18 years it's been find out what is going on...do whatever needs to be done and then reaching that point where nothing more can be done and do we do all sorts of invasive attempts knowing how painful it would be with a low chance of survival or just come to terms with the fact that his body is breaking down. I sometimes feel like we have taken the road less traveled...not the most popular one...do all one can do no matter what.

    Anyways. Just glad the patch is working and he seems much more comfortable. Not even zonked out by it now and slept thru the night last night.

    Thank you both again for your support.
  • You sound like an amazing Mom that is doing all she can do!! I can't imagine how difficult it must be for you all but just remember we are here and if you need support and understanding then this is the place that you will find it!!! I will continue to keep you all in my thoughts and prayers!!! All the best to you dear!!!!
  • I happened to read about your son and what he has been through on this day when I was feeling kind of sorry for myself. After reading about what your son has gone through, I might have a bad back but realize that I could never put myself in the category of bravery that comes through in your remarks.

    I think I need to count my blessings today.

    I hope that he continues to get some relief with the patch. He was obviously given a family of strength and grace, he will be in my prayers and thoughts, bless all of you,

    Thinking good thoughts for you and your son, sincerely, Susie
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.