After taking a tumble down a flight of stairs, Cheryl, a long-time dancer, could no longer do many of the things she loved. She says that she felt her quality of life was starting to diminish as her discomfort increased.
As part of her effort to find relief, Cheryl scheduled an appointment with Daniel S. Husted, M.D., F.A.A.O.S., a board certified orthopaedic surgeon at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. Together, after all nonsurgical methods failed to provide relief, they decided revision fusion surgery was the best option for pain relief.
“I was lucky enough to have surgery with Dr. Husted,” says Cheryl. “My biggest benefit from the surgery is that I have my life back now. I can walk, and I’m working out again. I can laugh, drive a car, and I can dance.”
What Is Revision Fusion Surgery?
Revision fusion surgery is recommended for patients who have had previous spinal procedures performed and have witnessed structural or physical spine shifts that caused renewed discomfort, loss of mobility and decreased function. For the majority of revision surgery patients, surgical error from a previous operation is not the cause of their problems.
Common reasons for revision surgery include:
- Inability to maintain stable fusion (pseudarthrosis)
- Problems with scar tissue or poor tissue healing
- The natural evolution of the spinal structure
- Deterioration or injury to the spine
Revision fusion surgery is an intricate and challenging process. Every patient needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis to determine the cause of the problem and the optimal solution to address it.
“I fell down six, seven, eight steps, from the second floor, and my husband took me to the emergency room,” remembers Cheryl. “The doctors there told me to follow up with Dr. Blum and Dr. Husted. So we immediately got an appointment at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. I made the appointment for surgery that day.”
Results and Recovery from Revision Fusion Surgery
Revision surgery can pose additional risks over and above any first-time operations because the surgeon needs to achieve the goals of the initial procedure plus address any other elements that have entered the equation. Also, the normal spinal and nerve structure may have been altered, tissues may not heal in the same way with repeat surgeries, and there may be an increased risk of infection.
Choosing a skilled and compassionate surgeon is critical to achieving one’s treatment goals. For Cheryl, the caring attitude and expertise of Dr. Husted and his staff formed the foundation of her successful recovery.
“Dr. Husted is phenomenal, just phenomenal; he really cares,” she says. “This whole place is unbelievable. Dr. Husted’s nurse is incredible. Every time I called her whether I needed prescriptions, or if I needed anything, or to talk to Dr. Husted, she was right on it. She was never like, ‘we’ll call you back in 48 hours.’”
Success rates for revision fusion surgery vary depending on the issue at hand and the precise procedure that needs to be performed. Patients typically are required to spend up to several days recovering in the hospital, and they may be fitted with a temporary brace to keep the spine stable.
Physical therapy is often a key component in achieving full strength and mobility of the spine. In the first few weeks after surgery, most activities may be restricted with the patient gradually resuming regular activities between six weeks to three months.
After her successful revision fusion surgery, Cheryl is eternally grateful to Dr. Husted for allowing her to get back to her true love — dancing.
“Where I live, people saw me when I first got here, and they look at me now, and they cannot believe I am the same person,” says Cheryl. “This whole trip of mine was a blessing; falling down the steps, coming here, staying here, led me to Dr. Husted. And I have nothing but the utmost, greatest things to say about him.”