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Surgery 2 years after SCI

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    Surgery 2 years after SCI

    My accident happened 2 years ago: T8 incomplete. Feelings almost intact but no movement at first from waist down. Now I am progressively getting back some movements in my legs.
    I am now contemplating surgery to free up my spinal cord which is now compressed at T8 by a broken bone and swollen, as shown on MRI.
    Anyone has had or knows of someone who has had surgery 2 years after the initial SCI? What was the outcome?
    The neurosurgeon says that because I am already getting back some movement, I would benefit from surgery.
    What should I expect?
    - Walking?
    - What is the likelihood of having pain from the hardware?

    Please tell me about your experiences.

    Many people benefit from delayed decompression surgery like this, although it is rare to wait 2 whole years. Generally we see it done in the first year. Why have you waited this long?

    When you say hardware, is the surgeon planning to put in new hardware, or are you talking about your original surgery? There should be no reason that the latter would cause you more pain due to new surgery.

    No one can predict the outcome of this surgery. You may get back a little, or a lot, or nothing, but I think it is important to try.

    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


      Originally posted by SCI-Nurse
      Why have you waited this long?

      When you say hardware, is the surgeon planning to put in new hardware, or are you talking about your original surgery?

      A previous surgeon told me that there was nothing he could do. That's why I ended up waiting so long.

      I meant the rod(s) and screws.

      Thanks for answering.



        There is quite a bit posted on this website about decompression surgery. Use the Search Function and search for decompression. It would make sense for you to review it.

        I think the most important part of your decision has to do with the Neurosurgeon who is advising you and would perform the operation. Make certain that he/she performs many of these procedures monthly and ask what the results have been after a delay in decompression of six months, one year and two years. I would also make sure that the Hospital where the procedure will be performed is a good teaching hospital since they probably have more experience in this area. You also would want assurance that your Neurosurgeon will personally perform the procedure.

        You don't have an easy decision since you don't want to loose any of the progress that you have attained or might attain in the future. Of course that should be tempered by the fact that most progress seems to come in the first two years. (This last sentence was true a number of years ago, but current thinking might be different.)

        Good luck,
        Last edited by carl; 17 Jul 2008, 5:20 PM.


          I have 2 sci, but the one at T12-L1 is the injury that has caused the majority of my paralysis. I went in for additional back surgery 3.5 years ago (it was my 3rd surgery on my back). I could have gone sooner, but was scared since there was the risk of losing more function than what I had. So, when i finally couldn't take the pain anymore, I sucked it up and did it. Granted my problem is a bit different from yours, and they had to 're-break' my back, straighten me out and put in a cage, screws & pins, and used bone from my hip to fuse to my spine. However, the docs did tell me that i might be able to regain some movement in some of my leg muscles, and possibly my feet (I wear AFOs). They also said it might make my pain better, which unfortunately it did not. I also didn't get back any additional movement back. I would think that after so many years that any chance of anything moving was slim to none with such an old injury. As for the's horrendous. Not only do i have pain in my back, but also from where they took out part of my hip bone. The doc said this affects people in different ways, so what may really bother me, may not you. My surgeon said there's been alot of success with these types of surgery and has done wonders for people with sci. The biggest benefit I got from this surgery is that I'm 2 inches taller than before! With all this hardware in my back now (I also have it in my neck and leg/ankle), I swear you can hear me creaking sometimes. My son loves to tease and come at me with the WD-40 can! Anyways, good luck to you. I hope this helped a bit.
          Last edited by JerseyGirl; 17 Jul 2008, 3:02 PM.
          Live Every Day Like It's Your Last!

          C3-C4 and T12-L1 since July 1988