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20 yr old daugther has Surgical Infection after 360 Fusion

My 20 yr old daughter had 360 fusion L4-S1 in Mid Oct 2013; she got a very deep surgical infection in the back cavity. She had clean out and revisions in November and December. She got a blood clot in her arm from the PICC line used to give her IV antibiotics. Pain control has been very poor. Once they stopped the IV antibiotics and put her on oral she did worse as far as pain. She had become wheelchair bound as pain to severe and many falls.

July 1, 2014, she was 95% fused so they removed the hardware from the back. Infection was encapsulated all over the hardware which was probably still causing all the pain, but it never showed in blood work. Infectious disease says it is now in her bone (osteomyelitis). After this last surgery she was able to walk with a walker, which is better (it give me her mom hope), but still poor pain control. She is also being treated again with the IV antibiotics. After almost dying of this infection, it has robbed her of any hope of getting better. I often talk to her and she is always waiting for her life to begin again, instead of living in the present. She just lies in her bed because it is the only thing that will give her some pain relief. She is seeing a therapist to sort through her feelings. Dr thinks once she starts physical therapy again she will start to do better, but she has no hope in that. I am heartbroken that this has mentally broken her!


  • Your daughter has been through tremendous stress, both physically and mentally. She needs to try real hard to develop a positive attitude so that she can start healing. Perhaps a counselor and an antidepressant are in order? A lot of people don't realize that you have to treat the mind and soul as well as the body. She obviously has a great support from you. What about other family members and friends? She has a long road to healing and will need everyone around her to be supportive.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,111
    Osteomylitis is horrible, I along with her had normal blood work forever. I really felt as if i was dying. I finally went to my family Dr and put my foot down and said either put me in the hospital or start doing test because I feel as if Im dying. Finally after a nuclear bone scan and biopsy it was discovered. The normal IV antibiotic followed by a year of oral. This is not something that you heal quickly from. It took me over a year. Hang in there. I agree with comment above, have her see a therapist that specializes in chronic pain. Are the Drs keeping her pain under control, from your post it doesnt sound like it , maybe time to talk to the dr about her quality of life and need for antidepressants and pain control. Tell her to hang on it will get better
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  • I hope your daughter is feeling better now... I had a L4/L5 fusion October 13,2014... i developed an abscess/infection with both staph and strep B bacterias and had a second surgery to clean it out and apply a wound vac in December 2014. I had a bad reaction to the wound vac and an allergy to the material that was used. I had blisters all over my back around the wound. I only used the wound vac for about 3 and a half months or so. It was so very painful. I was on IV antibiotics for 7 months following that. I developed a blood clot and celulitis in the picc line... which was reinserted 3 different times. I was back in the hospital for a third time for the clot/infection. The picc was removed at that time and i'm now going on 7 months on oral antibiotics. My infectious control dr. tried me off of the antibiotic for a few weeks... but my bloodwork came back and my numbers (CRP and Sed Rate) had sky rocked it again.. almost as high as they were when i was first diagnosed with the infection. I'm going on 15 months following the surgery and i still have an open wound. I'm still treating with a home nurse who does wound care 3 times a week. I'm still on the antibiotic.. it's been 13 months for that. My life is so completely different these days... i'm in pain all of the time. The position it feels the best is laying down on my side with a pillow behind me to propped me up a little. It's just so sad that this is how things are now... i'm still holding out hope that i will get back to somewhat of a normal life... i was very active, lots of sports... full time job... all of it before that sciatic nerve pain started.. it just shot down my leg one day all the way to my toes and things have never been the same since. It's helpful to know others have gone through similar experiences... not that i would wish it on anyone.. but there is comfort in knowing there are others and there is a place to find them.
  • Surgical Site infections are horrific. Although i am always on Spine Health as a Lay Person, I am a Certified Infection Preventionist with a specialty in Surgical Site Infections in my day job. It is not currently very easy to find out a Surgeon's rate of infection, but it is important that you ask about it ahead of surgery, and ask if you can see it compared to others in the area. They won't lie to you, and if they won't disclose it, that should be a red flag. No surgeon should be uncomfortable discussing the risks of infection. I do wish your daughter the best of recovery, and hopefully things will improve small bit by small bit for her.
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