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osteomyelitis and spinal fusion

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Old 11-09-2008, 02:21 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Virginia Beach, VA, USA
Posts: 2
sherrylf70 HB User
osteomyelitis and spinal fusion

Hi here. Hope someone can offer some suggestions or insight. I have insurance issues and will not have insurance as of the end of this month and currently have to recieve all my treatment in nj while i live in virginia.
Here we go. I had spinal fusion without hardware on the c5-6 vertabrae in Aug 1,08. Noticed shortly after that my voice was changing and felt like there was a lump in my throat. Dr. didn't think too much of it. In late Sept started having EXTREME pain in the neck. Hot cold sweats, tired, trouble breathing, pain in chest. It got progressively worse until i called 911 after four days of hell. After getting treated like crap by the emt's and the er dr's my surgeon finally came and said i had an infection and abcess that went from like c4 to t2. Next evening the abcess was drained and the bone graft was removed. The cultures revealed that it was strep and not a stap infection. Five days and a picc line later i was sent home with rocephin sp?. In the interim I had to move to va from nj (no choice).
When I found out about the bone graft being removed and asked about it, the dr said that the vertabrae would fuse together on their own (btw, i have osteoporosis). Something i don't understand since if that's the case, why put a bone graft there to begin with? So anyway, six weeks go by, neck is still hurting and hot. Had to go to the ER for a different reason, I thought that I would have the picc line removed this coming week, and they did blood work, dr in er in VA said that my platelets were 22000 when i was admitted the first time they were 17000. So he did a mri and this is what it says
1. the marked marrow edema and enhancement in the c5 and c6 vertebral bodies presumably by history, represents osteomyelitis related to previous hardware placement (i had no hardware placement). There is some enhancement in the disc suggesting that the disc may also be infected(the disc was removed) but the disc is clearly not the source of infection in this case.
2. prevertebral soft tissue thickening and edema consistent with post operative changes and or infection. but no abcess.
3. edema and enhancement in the c5-6 interspinous ligament probably dos not represent infection since there is no involvement of the posterior elements, there is no circumferential soft tissue infection around the spine, and there mis no evidence of dorsal surgical approach. therefore, this is probably ligamentous injury or irritation suggesting flexion instability at c5-6.

Ok so here is what i would like to know. Does anyone think that this is just the leftovers from the original infection or does it sound like it is back? Also, has anyone heard of not replacing the disc, does it sound like there is a problem with it? I am currently returning to nj to see my original surgeon, but honestly i just don't trust him anymore. The doc's in va put in a bigger picc line and changed my antibiotics to invanz. Any help suggestions stories would be greatly appreciated. thanx sherry

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