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View Full Version : Doctor said I'm past the age for sugery?? Need advice + Questions



Curious293
04-07-2010, 01:56 PM
A brief introduction/background as I am new to this forum.

I am 27 year old male with a good health history besides my scoliosis. About 2 years ago I went to the emergency room with pneumonia and found out I had scroliosis from the xrays they performed. Back then I didn't really pay any attention to it since I felt like I was going to die from the pneumonia.

Fast forward two years later. Since then I have taken up the hobby of working out and lifting weights and have had numerous back and shoulder issues for I didn't know what reason. A few of my friends pointed out that I lift weights with uneven movement from my arms as if one arm was a few inches longer than the other. This caused a lot of wear and tear unevenly with my shoulders/arms/torso which left me with a lot of pain/injuries that I never went to the doctor for (stupidly I admit). I also started to noticed that I generally walk around uneven, with my torso slightly bent to the right and my back slightly arched back. I knew this subcontiously all along but never really linked it to my scoliosis until I went and did some research on it.

Sure enough, all my symptoms matched with severe scroliosis. Uneven shoulders, tilted torso, back shoulder pains from lifting weight, and you are a few inches shorted than what you should be (I am very short for a man). I also have neck pain that comes and goes on the right side of my next, I think thats from my constant slight lean to the right. I also have really bad posture.


Now, on to today. I had a doctors appointment regarding my scrolosis and he examed me with my shirt off and had me move my arms into various positions. He confirmed all of what I said above. He said I definately had considerable scroliosis and that body/shoulders are tilted. He coudn't tell how bad it was from just looking and he sent me to go get xrays.

Here is the kicker, he said that I am past the age for sugery and that he'll refer me to a physical therapist and decide how to proceed with theraphy based off how bad it is when he gets the xray results back (in 1-2 weeks).

What? How am I too old for sugery? After reading this forum for a bit, I am seeing that people are getting surgerys into their 50's. I'm a young man in my late 20's. How is this possible? Do I need to be refered to a back/spine specialist?

This scolosis has been a nightmare for me the past 2 years with the constant injury and pain. I want this completely over and done with permantly with surgery, not to mention I can finally fix my poor posture and my very short height.

Any help would be appretiated.

Syd
04-07-2010, 02:08 PM
hey Im sydnie I am 13 ,
Yous said that you cant have the surgery sense your to old well the only reason you cant have it is because your done growing for the time right noiw but when you get older you change size I am guess that why they get the surgery but if you ask the docter why you cant have the surgery I am positive thats what he will tell you . I am soo sorry to hear you had to go to the emergeny room ! I hope everything goes good for you I will pray for you that every thing is gona be great . I am sorry about your scoliosis!

Sincerly,
Sydnie

Pooka1
04-07-2010, 02:15 PM
Here is the kicker, he said that I am past the age for surgery

This is fallacious.

The only way you will get proper treatment is to find a scoliosis specialist. Here is a list...

http://www.srs.org/find/

Good luck.

loves to skate
04-07-2010, 02:19 PM
Sharon is right on. I had surgery at age (drum roll please) 67 years young.
Sally

Pooka1
04-07-2010, 02:22 PM
Sharon is right on. I had surgery at age (drum roll please) 67 years young.
Sally

Yes Sally I think you have the record for this group. :)

Curious293
04-07-2010, 02:59 PM
This is fallacious.

The only way you will get proper treatment is to find a scoliosis specialist. Here is a list...

http://www.srs.org/find/

Good luck.

Thank you for the link Sharon. I did a search and it seems there are plenty of specialist in my area.

Do you guys know how insurance will work if I go outside of my provider? I am insured with Kaiser and none of the specialist listed work for Kaiser.

rich1752
04-07-2010, 03:10 PM
Curious293, your story sounds like my story. I never new I had scoliosis until last year. I work in law enforcement and I am 38 years old. I weight lifted everyday, sometimes twice a day. I knew that my back was one of my weakest muscles but didn't think it was bad. I had severe back pain and went to doctors who just did a visual check. My muscles had compensated for my scoliosis and the muscles grew larger on one side. Three doctors didn't find it and just prescribed tylenol and said it was old age. I kept having back pain for five years, so finally went to a fourth doctor, who sent me to get x-rays. That is where they found the scoliosis, 57 degree curve. This all happened last year in August (2009). I was scared for me and my family, because my income was at risk. Doctor's now were telling me that I couln't be a cop anymore. Had surgery on December 9th, 2009 and I m 4 month post op. I feel great and my surgeon said that we would talk about returning to work at our next appointment. I don't know wha that means, but it sounded like he might give me the green light. I have been a cop for 17 years, so dont know anything else. But did not waste my time while I was out there and got my Bacheors, Masters and PHD. I really want to return to the gym to get huge like My Governor in California!! I disagree!! Your not too old!! Go see another surgeon!!

rich

Curious293
04-07-2010, 03:31 PM
Curious293, your story sounds like my story. I never new I had scoliosis until last year. I work in law enforcement and I am 38 years old. I weight lifted everyday, sometimes twice a day. I knew that my back was one of my weakest muscles but didn't think it was bad. I had severe back pain and went to doctors who just did a visual check. My muscles had compensated for my scoliosis and the muscles grew larger on one side. Three doctors didn't find it and just prescribed tylenol and said it was old age. I kept having back pain for five years, so finally went to a fourth doctor, who sent me to get x-rays. That is where they found the scoliosis, 57 degree curve. This all happened last year in August (2009). I was scared for me and my family, because my income was at risk. Doctor's now were telling me that I couln't be a cop anymore. Had surgery on December 9th, 2009 and I m 4 month post op. I feel great and my surgeon said that we would talk about returning to work at our next appointment. I don't know wha that means, but it sounded like he might give me the green light. I have been a cop for 17 years, so dont know anything else. But did not waste my time while I was out there and got my Bacheors, Masters and PHD. I really want to return to the gym to get huge like My Governor in California!! I disagree!! Your not too old!! Go see another surgeon!!

rich

Wow, I agree a very similar story and I'm happy to know you have a happy ending to your dilemma and glad you're going back to work soon. I also like you live in California :)

Luckily for me though my job does not require physical labor so my work won't be impacted if I have surgery. How long did it take you to recover after surgery for you to be able to walk around and such? Also how long until you were able to go back to the gym?

jrnyc
04-07-2010, 03:55 PM
Hi Curious
dont know what kind of a doctor told you that you are too old...but that is totally false...scoli surgerons operate every day on folks age 5-75! my doctor told me he has patients in their 70's! soooo...please dont believe anything that doctor told you!!

there are places where you can find the names of excellent scoli specialists...who actually know what they are talking about!

jess

ADMoul
04-07-2010, 04:47 PM
It never ceases to amaze me what Dr.'s who either aren't well-educated in scoliosis or just don't want to deal with it will tell people. I understand that you want to pursue conservative treatment if at all possible and avoid surgery. However, that age thing he told you is totally bogus. Get yourself evaluated by a good adult scoli specialist.

Curious293
04-07-2010, 05:40 PM
Yep thanks guys I'm going to call around on the specialist in my area tomorrow. Hopefully the insurance thing works out...

debbei
04-07-2010, 06:52 PM
1) 1-2 weeks to get the results of xrays? Ridiculous

2) Past the age of surgery? Double Ridiculous. I had surgery at age 46 and I am doing fabulous.

You need to find a scoliosis specialist, not just some run-of-the-mill orthopedic dr. Look on http://www.srs.org/find/ for a doctor in your area.

Good luck,

debbei
04-07-2010, 06:53 PM
1) 1-2 weeks to get the results of xrays? Ridiculous

2) Past the age of surgery? Double Ridiculous. I had surgery at age 46 and I am doing fabulous.

You need to find a scoliosis specialist, not just some run-of-the-mill orthopedic dr. Look on http://www.srs.org/find/ for a doctor in your area.

Good luck,

By the way, I think I'll nominate your current doctor for the "Doctor Dumbell" award of the year. That's the name I gave the first ortho I went to over 2 years ago. Good luck, and ask us anything you want. There is a tremendous wealth of knowledge on this forum. They educated me, and we can do the same for you.

Curious293
04-07-2010, 06:59 PM
1) 1-2 weeks to get the results of xrays? Ridiculous

2) Past the age of surgery? Double Ridiculous. I had surgery at age 46 and I am doing fabulous.

You need to find a scoliosis specialist, not just some run-of-the-mill orthopedic dr. Look on http://www.srs.org/find/ for a doctor in your area.

Good luck,

Yeah I agree... but I am with a large health car provider with a large bureaucracy... Kaiser. Anyone who lives in CA will be familiar with them. I also thought up to 2 weeks was ridiculous too... but what can I do? I can't make their bureaucracy move faster.

And I'm going to call around for a scoliosis specialist tomorrow. I really appreciate the help this forum has given me so far.

debbei
04-07-2010, 07:08 PM
Yeah I agree... but I am with a large health car provider with a large bureaucracy... Kaiser. Anyone who lives in CA will be familiar with them. I also thought up to 2 weeks was ridiculous too... but what can I do? I can't make their bureaucracy move faster.

And I'm going to call around for a scoliosis specialist tomorrow. I really appreciate the help this forum has given me so far.

I seem to remember that someone on this forum had surgery through Kaiser. I just searched and came up with this thread:

http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showthread.php?t=6730&highlight=kaiser

I was remembering Geish, but I'm not sure that she's on the forum any longer. Read the thread.

Shari
04-07-2010, 08:18 PM
This is very sad!!!!! How is it possible that orthopedic MD's, in this country, are not aware of all spinal conditions. Even if they don't treat it, they should at least be aware that there are many MD's that do. How can any MD still be in that dark in regard to this.

First of all, most middle schools now test for scoliosis, second, it's something that should have come up in a biology or an anatomy class.

What a shame,
Shari

Pooka1
04-07-2010, 08:28 PM
This is very sad!!!!! How is it possible that orthopedic MD's, in this country, are not aware of all spinal conditions. Even if they don't treat it, they should at least be aware that there are many MD's that do. How can any MD still be in that dark in regard to this.


I find it breath-taking. I guess specialty areas of medicine are pretty walled off from general medicine.

ShariMSU
04-07-2010, 08:38 PM
I'll join in and say that is crazy. I am 49 and having surgery fusing T2-L1, next week. Surgery is based on your condition, health, fitness, and need.
I'm glad you wil find a specialist in your area, even a short travel to a good Dr. is well worth it. Good luck to you! Welcome to the forum, I have found it is awesom for learning and asking questions.

rich1752
04-07-2010, 09:39 PM
Kaiser is unique because everything is in-house. I could see how their specialist would not recommend surgery, hospital would lose money. With Obama's plan, insurance companies will not be able to deny any of us with pre-existing conditions. I'm not sure if you know this yet, but our surgery is still considered an "ELECTIVE" surgery. Crazy, huh? I also could see kaiser recommending against an elective surgery.

rich

Curious293
04-07-2010, 09:44 PM
Kaiser is unique because everything is in-house. I could see how their specialist would not recommend surgery, hospital would lose money. With Obama's plan, insurance companies will not be able to deny any of us with pre-existing conditions. I'm not sure if you know this yet, but our surgery is still considered an "ELECTIVE" surgery. Crazy, huh? I also could see kaiser recommending against an elective surgery.

rich

Does this mean that Kaiser won't cover this, since this is considered an elective sugery? How much does surgery like this cost if I have to pay out pf pocket? Am I going to go bankrupt?

jrnyc
04-07-2010, 11:14 PM
considered "elective" by whom? the government?

i have not heard that from insurance companies, nor have i seen it on this forum from those whose insurance companies APPROVED their surgery....do you mean that they were approving "elective" surgeries...how is it elective if heart and lungs become involved and limit breatheing?
what if 5 surgeons say patient cant walk?

i have heard 2 insurance companies that i deal with directly, and neither one asked me if my surgery would be "elective"

just want to know who is it who is using that word...maybe you should name the company? also, disability doesnt consider surgery for this "elective"....

jess

LindaRacine
04-07-2010, 11:25 PM
Hi....

You won't need to go outside of Kaiser. You just need to get your ignorant doctor to refer you. If you're in northern California, you'll likely get referred to Oakland, where you'll be seen by Drs. Ravi Bains or Joseph Gorek. When you have your xrays taken, be sure that they take full spine xrays. Then, hopefully you can view the xrays. If you do get to see the films, take a picture of them. If your curve(s) is/are significant, you should be able to get the referral. If you're in southern California, I'm afraid I'm not of much assistance.

Regards,
Linda

jrnyc
04-08-2010, 12:00 AM
hmmmm...well, if it is Kaiser calling this elective, then it just proves how....crappy they are (trying to keep it semi-clean)...
his Kaiser doctors didnt give my father blood thinners...he was 90 years old...of course, he had a stroke...never really was the same after that...so you can imagine what i think of Kaiser...it is just not printable...

good luck with them!

jess

titaniumed
04-08-2010, 03:04 AM
Welcome Curious!

Well, I guess it was a good idea that you started posting.

Itís a shame that some MDs do these things....At least in the 60s you could forgive them....most didnít know what to do.

Its 50 years later, and still, this stuff happens.....Hard to believe...

If you have scoliosis, you should learn about your disease, methods of management, and of course how Doctors think and work.

If you have scoliosis, you should see a "scoliosis trained orthopedic surgeon" and have an analysis done by him. It doesnít mean that you are going to rush into surgery, its mainly the first step. Its not an emergency, but you will need to be thinking about this, and start getting all your ducks in a row. I waited 34 years for my surgery after my initial dx in 1974.

It wouldnít be a bad idea to buy a few books from NSF. Buy them from this site.

I donít know if you are benching a million pounds, but you might tone the weight lifting down a tad.
Good luck
Ed titaniumed@hotmail.com

Jimbo
04-08-2010, 04:14 AM
I was also given misinformation by certain doctors and told nothing could be done. I will tell you how to get around that - RESEARCH AND PERSISTENCE! Find a great surgeon who empathises with your problem and if surgery is necessary, get them to do it.

It is absolutely stunning how incompetent some of these doctors are. How they ever got a medical degree is beyond me.

Jimbo
04-08-2010, 04:16 AM
Oh by the way, I am 28 and wasn't too old for surgery :)

CHRIS WBS
04-08-2010, 09:15 AM
Kaiser is unique because everything is in-house. I could see how their specialist would not recommend surgery, hospital would lose money. With Obama's plan, insurance companies will not be able to deny any of us with pre-existing conditions. I'm not sure if you know this yet, but our surgery is still considered an "ELECTIVE" surgery. Crazy, huh? I also could see kaiser recommending against an elective surgery.

rich

http://xnet.kp.org/reform/

Need I say more?

rich1752
04-08-2010, 10:42 AM
Curious, I was also scared about mobility and my ability to work out after surgery, but after I found out that we have body builders on our site, it re-assured me. I found an old post from ED (titanium).

Im a professional weightlifter now.
Ed
Attached Images ed post surgery.jpg (32.0 KB, 111 views)
627

__________________
49 yr old male now 51 the new 31
Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
A/P T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

titaniumed
04-08-2010, 03:22 PM
Rich

For maximum comedic effect, that thread needs to be read from the beginning!

That one was an NSF classic! LOL

My surgeons in 1974 didnít want me lifting, or skiing. I quit the lifting, but continued skiing. Addiction to powder skiing has no cure....

I have been putting things to the test lately and have been having great results. I would say shoveling large amounts of snow and rock qualifies...

Just lay low till you are fused.
Ed

RitaR
04-08-2010, 04:44 PM
Hello Curious293: I'm 46 years young and just had surgery on Mar 1st. Wow! I can't believe it. I never thought it being that long ago. Geesh. Time flies I guess. So, not sure why your dr says your past the age.

Vali
04-09-2010, 10:06 AM
Hi curious and welsome to the forum. Don't know where your doctor hails from! I was 44 when i had surgery and my surgeon operated on a 78yr old man the week before mine! Oh and get this.... he had a longer fusion than mine!:eek: My surgery was only 6 hours compared to his that was 13 hours. Seek someone more knowledgeable please!!!!!!!!! What a joke... is he going to prescribe Glucosamine and Chondroitin next?:rolleyes:

Shari
04-28-2010, 01:07 AM
Wow, I've missed so much in just a few short weeks. Been very busy w/ my Mother.

But I could not get this thread out of my head. It still needs to be on page 1.

My surgeon knew about this forum back in when I had my surgery back in '05.
Which made me very happy.

The anger that I have over this subject is sometimes consuming. I still can't wrap my brain cells, that are left, around this. I think it's a damn shame that there are still ortho's and neurologists that have less knowledge than we have???:confused:

Don't they have to go to seminars to keep their "field" knowledge up to date??? And I don't mean a specialty. If they deal with the spine or any bone connected to it, they should be somewhat aware of this condition. Hell I can walk through a mall and tell if someone has a spinal problem.:mad:
I think if your middle finger is crooked, it must be broken!!!

Sorry I rambled,
Shari

Back-out
04-28-2010, 04:07 AM
RitaR

So, not sure why your dr says your past the age.
Because he is a moron. ;) I thought we'd established that!