Bone infection in spine
Has anyone been diagnosed and treated for this. I have a lumbar fusion from L5-S1 and neurosurgeon said hardware would have to be removed? Just starting to get definitive diagnosis and possible treatment.
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@retirement75 I'm sorry you are going through this. I knew someone who went through treatments for an infection in the bone after healing from an ankle fracture. She was in her 70's and they operated to remove the hardware, and there were probably 5 or 6 surgeries every month to de-bride the bone to remove infected tissue. She came close to loosing her foot. She had a wound vac attached removing fluid buildup and spent many weeks in a rehab center before she was past all this and could walk again.
I know this doesn't sound like good news for you, and going through another surgery means another recovery. I had fixation hardware removed from my ankle from a previous surgery when it was fractured. My hardware was causing pain and hives although the doctor didn't believe that completely, but I had large masses of hives on my skin unless I stayed on antihistamine all the time for several months until I was healed enough to safely remove it. The recovery from hardware removal was not as bad as the initial injury and surgery, but I didn't have an infection. It is healed and much better now than when I had hardware. I am a spine surgery patient, but I don't have spine hardware. I had a fusion in my neck with only a bone disc spacer and a neck brace during healing.
Is your fusion recent or is this problem happening after a few years? Does your surgeon have a treatment plan and has scheduled a procedure for you?
My lumbar fusion is from 2007. At this time, we don’t know how I would get an infection in this area, although I was told you could have a bladder infection which could cause bone infection. None of that. I’m scheduled for MRI this week to determine more. If there is infection, treatment would be 6 weeks of IV antibiotics and possibly surgery after that. Right now I am researching surgeons locally and at Mayo Clinic. My concern is that I am recently diagnosed with heart failure and don’t know if I could tolerate a very long surgery. I think the fusion surgery was between 3 and 4 hours. I don’t mentally or physically feel like going through this. One day at a time!
@retirement75 I hope the antibiotics will do the trick if there is an infection. Have you consulted your cardiologist about these recent developments? Whatever the outcome of your tests, the heart doctor should be informed and may help with your decision. Perhaps another opinion might be a good idea. Did they tell you how they can confirm an infection on imaging or blood tests or do they need to take a biopsy?
That's a lot to think about. They should be able to explain if the hardware is possibly causing an artifact on imaging. That can be a cause of something looking unusual on an MRI. Let's hope that is it. You can ask them if the hardware causes artifacts or shadows and what that should look like as compared to an infection. I hope you'll share what you learn. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!
Like you Jennifer, I’m a researcher. They already had me talk to a neurosurgeon and I’ve had previous surgeries, i.e., cervical fusion in 2000, which causes a lot of problems as it is 20 years old, so definitely will get more than one opinion. Sure that cardiology would be involved. One reason why I may consult with Mayo Clinic. Thanks for your input!
Jennifer, this is for you. Yes, I am being scheduled for surgery. Wanted to go to Mayo but waited too long and am dealing with 10 pain and trouble walking. I am a single person so am the one running the show. Hard to do at times. I’ve done it before so hopefully I can continue. I am reading people needing end of life help. Can relate to that. Hope I survive the surgery and can continue with my passions, reading, knitting and colored pencil drawing. Thanks be to a higher power!
For you –
@retirement75 Thank you for sharing your drawing of the horse. Well done!. I love horses and I own one that I ride. I am also an artist and I love to paint horses. Keep on doing the drawings and knitting. It is very therapeutic and good for the soul!
Thank you for your update about surgery. I know that was a difficult decision and because of the wait time, you were not able to consult at Mayo as your situation is more urgent. After applying, the wait to be seen at Mayo can be long and I was told 3 months. They do prioritize urgent cases, and it just depends on availability of appointments.
Do you have someone who can help you at home after surgery? I think your doctors will suggest this to you. How soon is the surgery? Did they explain what they will do and what your recovery will be like?
When you post to me, I’ll see it sooner if you @mention me by typing @jenniferhunter in the post. That will send me a notification in my daily digest e mail that I have received a message from you. I know pain can be daunting. I have found relaxation with music and deep slow breathing in time with the music helps. When I went to Mayo for spine surgery, I took a painting of mine with me and did that while looking at it the night before to ease my mind. I just wanted to get lost and be someplace beautiful and it helps. The painting was of a mountain stream in Rocky Mountain National Park. If you can visualize and create art, you can do this and take your mind anywhere you want to go. It helps a lot and gives you peace when you are going through something difficult. Try it and let me know what you think. I could lower my blood pressure by 10 to 15 points when it was high because of being nervous. You can always do this once you know how any time you need to find peace and calmness and feel a sense of control about your life.
Calming music may help also. My appointment is Tuesday. I’ll post an update. No one really understands your journey unless they’ve been thru some health issues. That’s why this website is so validating