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CHRIS WBS
06-23-2010, 08:57 AM
Today is two years since my surgery and overall I am quite pleased with the results and have no regrets. (In my first post I asked if anyone regretted their decision to have surgery.) I am also thankful that I experienced no complications whatsoever and have had a relatively easy recovery. Except for a recent issue with inflammation, Iíve had no problems associated with this surgery and no need to contact my surgeonís office. I have to admit though that I am disappointed with my lack of cosmesis. The past few years I have seen so many awesome before and after pics posted here; and I was hoping to do the same. I had my sister take a picture of my back the day before my surgery and would have posted my results if they were worth posting. But when I look in the mirror, I still see an ugly deformed back that now has a long red scar on it. While my x-rays are impressive (thereís clearly quite a difference in the before and after), my outward appearance really hasnít changed. Iíve read where so many of you describe getting stretched out resulting in a defined waistline and an elongated torso. I did not get that. I lost 2ĹĒ in height since I was 50 but gained only one inch after surgery. After going through this horrendous surgery, I now sort of feel like I got shortchanged. Does anyone else feel this way?

LindaRacine
06-23-2010, 10:44 AM
Today is two years since my surgery and overall I am quite pleased with the results and have no regrets. (In my first post I asked if anyone regretted their decision to have surgery.) I am also thankful that I experienced no complications whatsoever and have had a relatively easy recovery. Except for a recent issue with inflammation, Iíve had no problems associated with this surgery and no need to contact my surgeonís office. I have to admit though that I am disappointed with my lack of cosmesis. The past few years I have seen so many awesome before and after pics posted here; and I was hoping to do the same. I had my sister take a picture of my back the day before my surgery and would have posted my results if they were worth posting. But when I look in the mirror, I still see an ugly deformed back that now has a long red scar on it. While my x-rays are impressive (thereís clearly quite a difference in the before and after), my outward appearance really hasnít changed. Iíve read where so many of you describe getting stretched out resulting in a defined waistline and an elongated torso. I did not get that. I lost 2ĹĒ in height since I was 50 but gained only one inch after surgery. After going through this horrendous surgery, I now sort of feel like I got shortchanged. Does anyone else feel this way?

Hi Chris...

I had the same sort of outcome. I gained about an inch in height, and no noticable difference in my rib hump. I can't tell you why some surgeons get great correction from the procedure while others do not. It could be the implant system that is used, or just a difference in technique.

Sorry to hear that you're not as pleased as you might have been. While I'm sure most of agree that cosmesis is really a minor part of the overall picture, it definitely can make a difference in our overall satisfaction.

Regards,
Linda

jesscv
06-23-2010, 11:42 AM
I think the amount of rib hump correction depends on the degree of vertebral rotation. Even if you have mild or moderate scoliosis, you can still have significant rotation. The rotation can typically be reduced during surgery, but sometimes not a very significant amount, unfortunately.

Davis
06-23-2010, 11:59 AM
out of curiousity, were both of your surgeons SRS listed? Did you discuss much about the aesthetic outcome with your DR before the surgery?

LindaRacine
06-23-2010, 02:24 PM
out of curiousity, were both of your surgeons SRS listed? Did you discuss much about the aesthetic outcome with your DR before the surgery?

Mine is. We did discuss it, but it wasn't a huge issue for me.

What I've found, now that I know a lot of surgeons, and a lot of patients, is that there's a huge difference between surgeons that perform 10-20 of these surgeries a year, and those who perform a lot more. I work at UCSF, where many of the surgeons perform 50-100 scoliosis surgeries a year. On many of the post-surgical patients that we see, if it wasn't for a scar, one would not be able to tell that the patient ever had scoliosis.

With that said, I'm sure there are times when the rib hump cannot be improved without thoracoplasty because of the stiffness of the curves.

--Linda

jesscv
06-23-2010, 02:33 PM
yep, my surgeon was an SRS member. he told me my "hump" would be greatly reduced, but not entirely. and that's exactly what happened...

Back-out
06-23-2010, 03:09 PM
...On many of the post-surgical patients that we see, if it wasn't for a scar, one would not be able to tell that the patient ever had scoliosis.

With that said, I'm sure there are times when the rib hump cannot be improved without thoracoplasty because of the stiffness of the curves.

--Linda
Sounds great, Not for the first time I'm wishing I lived in SF where I went to school!

This business of "curve stiffness" - is there a rough and ready way (through attempted stretches etc) to tell how stiff one's curves are? I SEEM (to me) to be pretty flexible, scoliosis notwithstanding.

Examples: my curve is 30 deg thoracic (apex more to the left) and 60 deg. lumbar (apex to the right). Still standing or lying, I can bend well side to side - left lateral a bit harder as one would expect - and also twist into most if not all yoga positions (no, I can no longer easily put my knees behind my neck anymore, though).

It's the (ugh) kyphotic lumbar hump that just stays put more or less. I.e., when I lie on the floor I feel it touching a lot more on the lower left, and if I try to do crunches twisting my waist in that position, I tip over on the right because of it.

To repeat my main question (bolding for clarity) , is there anything else I can do to get even a vague idea abt my stiffness and possible correction? Naturally, I plan to ask surgeons on future consults (this among much else, I missed asking the first go round :o). No one has said a word to me about my degree of rotation, but I gather this is behind the kyphosis - so much so, that the third surgeon said he only needed to start the fusion at T10 (instead of T4) and that the rest could be corrected by "unwinding" me - correcting the rotation. I THINK that would correct the rib hump, though I am kind of confused about whether he's right (that starting this low would suffice) or if the other two are right, that they would need to start at T4.

:confused:

CHRIS WBS
06-23-2010, 03:19 PM
My surgeon is an SRS member who does perform at least 100 surgeries a year according to what he told me. I do not have a rib hump. My curve was mostly lumbar. But I did not get stretched out through the mid-section and I still have asymmetric folds and creases where I had hoped my waistline would have been more defined.

Back-out
06-23-2010, 03:26 PM
And Chris,

Not to hijack your well-thought out thread...I feel for you being disappointed about the less-than-desired cosmetic correction obtained. I know you try hard to be realistic and upbeat, and I am sure you hesitated to express sadness about this aspect of your surgery, considering you obtained satisfactory results otherwise (that is, not counting for the time being, your still-mysterious inflammatory episode).

I'm sure many share similar disappointment and will now feel freer to express themselves. It does seem too bad that you didn't get a dramatic change here, after going through so much! I wonder what questions to ask prospective surgeons to at least know whether a given surgeon feels he will be able to achieve a good cosmetic (as well as functional) result. Also whether some are just plain better/more experienced with certain kinds of curves.

I'm wondering how to investigate this at interviews. I tend to be polite and this is not really an area for "good manners". I guess the questions have to be pretty direct and unambiguous, in asking about their experience with one's own kind of curves and condition: what the surgeon expects/hopes to be able to accomplish and what will be more of a "wait and see" situation. For that matter, what they're pretty sure will NOT be able to be achieved!

Whatever, although I am sorry for your letdown feeling (especially hard on this Board with so many stunning results), I'll bet others don't notice it much, if at all. Guess we've all been over this many times - how little other people really notice the fine points of our physique within a certain range of "normal". I used to do art restoration and the goal was to alter damage so the viewer's eye wasn't drawn to the correction. If they knew where to look, it was almost always visible.

Doodles
06-23-2010, 09:17 PM
Chris--I understand your feelings completely. I did get about 1 and a half inches and am more stretched out and less squished. I was most worried about my torso/rotation tip to the left for the first several months after surgery. Now that is still there but the rib hump just haunts me. It is better than before surgery but has gotten worse since after surgery. The rib hump is what really bothers me; I have the mirror out about twice a day checking to see if it's worse. I try not to for a few days and then it just looks more shocking. Dr. Lenke had done about 700 adult patients before me with the posterior only and I know he did what he could with me. I don't know my rib hump number before or my rotation number. Somehow that was never mentioned and I didn't know there was a number for it. I just know it was bad. The rib hump is now a 12. Maybe it just seems bad through my eyes. I've toyed with hypnosis or something to make me stop obsessing about it. My husband swears it's fine since he knows there's nothing to be done. When I showed two of my daughters in the last few months they said--well, it isn't horrible. Plus, my scar looks no different than it did at about 3 months. OK, I'll stop whining now. But it felt kind of good to get that out. Sorry, still in the long run I know I had to do it and would do it again with these results. I just wish I didn't still have to think about it all the time! Janet

Confusedmom
06-23-2010, 09:40 PM
Hi Chris,

I went to see Dr. Gupta a few weeks ago for a third opinion. I got the impression that he prioritizes patient comfort and reduced risks over cosmesis. He told me that he would do a 6-hour, posterior-only fusion on me from T8-L5 even though it would result in a lesser correction because it would be "good enough." He said: "Your back will look like it did in college again, and that would be good enough, right?" Basically, my 68* curve would go down to about 30-35*. While that would obviously be an improvement, I did have some hips/waistline assymetry even back then.

Also, he said he would use a bone bank rather than bone graft from me to reduce pain. Also he said since I have a stiff curve (Amanda--bending xrays give you some idea of this), he would not try to get an extreme correction. Overcorrecting can lead to decompensation, I gather.

I left with the feeling that he would competently do the job (of stabilizing my spine to prevent further progression) and spare me a lot of risk and pain that a more aggressive surgery might cause. By contrast, my local surgeon wants to do a 12-hour A/P job from T4-L5.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that maybe with Dr. Gupta you gave up some cosmetic correction to have an easier time with surgery/recovery and less risk of complications. (Less aggressive surgery=shorter surgery=less time under anesthesia=less blood loss.) So, in the end it might be preferable to trade a little cosmetic improvement for a safer outcome. I could be wrong about this, of course, but that's the feeling I got from him.

Evelyn

jrnyc
06-24-2010, 02:06 AM
i wouldnt trade the NYC surgeons for any in the world! they are the best! do not think that is coming from a prejudiced native New Yorker...;)
worth the trip for those who live in nearby states...as much as worth the trips to CA for those who live a few states away from there!
never heard of a 30 degree curve being operated on...my 42 thoracic will be ignored...and fusion will start at T11...the surgeons would like me to continue to have the botox shots in upper back after surgery, though...
true flexibility is best tested lying down, without the (amazing) help of gravity to pull the body over when bending standing up...whole other shocking story laying down on table!

jess

Shari
06-24-2010, 04:13 AM
Hi Chris W., I can still remember your posts from years ago. I think the older we are when we have the surgery, the less flexible our spine is.

This surgery is not always a cosmetic fix, even though we think that after going through such a complicated surgery, it seems to come with the territory that we automatically will get the cosmetic result, as well as the stopping of the progression, and relief of the pain.

We are all different, and you still have a special place in my heart.
Shari...XOX:)

CHRIS WBS
06-24-2010, 11:13 AM
Excellent observation, Evelyn. I think youíre right on target. And I think Guptaís position stems from his fellowship training under Bridwell. Before I saw Bridwell, I had consults with Dr. Hammerberg at Rush and Dr. Schafer at Northwestern. They both recommended T2 to pelvis and a big anterior. Schafer even suggested an ALIF in addition (3 surgeries). So I was quite surprised when Bridwell recommended T8 or 9 to pelvis and only posterior. Initially Gupta recommended A/P from T4 to pelvis, but as my surgery date neared he changed to posterior only. And I believe one of the reasons was because of the increased risk for infection that comes with a staged approach. My posterior was 12 hours, so mine would have had to be staged a week apart. He talked about me actually leaving the hospital after the first procedure and returning for the second. Are you comfortable with Guptaís recommendation for you?

Janet, thanks for your input. Iím sorry you did not get the desired outcome regarding your rib hump. Sometimes I think thereís only so much they can do for those of us who are older. Your scar should begin fading. Iím fair-skinned and for the longest time my scar was bright red. Itís been two years but I am seeing more of it fading with time.

Shari, thanks for your kind words. I think youíre right. Age and severity of deformity are huge factors. Both lessen your chances for a glowing cosmetic improvement. Thatís why I shudder when I read where people with already severe curves say that their doctor recommends waiting. Wait for what?

Jess, just ask Suzyjay about her wonderful experience with a top NYC surgeon. Stuff happens regardless of the surgeon or where you have surgery.
http://scoliosis.org/forum/showpost.php?p=90662&postcount=6

jrnyc
06-24-2010, 11:42 AM
hi Chris
oh, i know how rampant infections can be in hospitals! but i figure with the best surgeon, i up my odds for a good outcome...and everybody knows NYC has the best! (especially we native New Yorkers, who are not at all prejudiced in favor of our native city ;)) we are completely objective in believing that NYC is the capitol of the world!

jess

Doodles
06-24-2010, 12:26 PM
Chris--I'm very fair-skinned too so maybe there is hope that the scar will fade more! Thanks for that info. Janet

Confusedmom
06-25-2010, 06:04 PM
Are you comfortable with Guptaís recommendation for you?
http://scoliosis.org/forum/showpost.php?p=90662&postcount=6

Chris,

Well, I'm a lot more comfortable with Dr. Gupta's recommendation than my local doctor's, but I'm still waffling. I see Dr. Bridwell Monday, so maybe that will help me make a decision. I know surgery is inevitable, but the question for me is--now or later? Anyway, I'm sure I'll be seeking input here after Monday. Thanks for your postings on Dr. Gupta, which led me to him in the first place.

Evelyn

Sharon C
06-26-2010, 02:17 AM
Yes,
With all the other problems one hears about on this forum, it seems trivial to complain about so caled "cosmetic" corrections. But we live in a very cosmetic world where one's appearance can equal not only employability, but worthiness in other aspects of social society. After deciding on my initial surgery and being scared half out of my mind over it, I tried to entertain more pleasant thoughts about what might come of it all. Since I was bent laterally and had the horrid hump, I imagined being straight up, taller, hump free, and even having a less "squishy" belly. If only!!! I am certainly less laterally bent, much improved hump, but now I'm 5' 1/2 down from 5' 2" due to the developing kyphosis. And let's not even talk about the belly. Has anyone seen my belly button????
So, like so many things in life, it's all relative. I'm glad to be alive and not paralized, but after the big bad surgery and extensive recovery, it would've been nice to get a few extra perks for my trouble, thank-you-very much. Ah, such is life!:o

Cimbom
06-26-2010, 03:07 AM
Well I am very happy with the cosmetic outcome achieved after my surgery last year but now I'm getting really stressed out due to the possible cosmetic result of another condition - hair loss. It just seems like a cruel joke :confused:

JenniferG
06-26-2010, 04:11 AM
Well I am very happy with the cosmetic outcome achieved after my surgery last year but now I'm getting really stressed out due to the possible cosmetic result of another condition - hair loss. It just seems like a cruel joke :confused:

Could your hair loss be due to the antibiotics given in surgery I wonder? My daughter lost about 1/3 of her hair after a massive dose of penicillin given when she had what the drs. thought was pneumonia whilst travelling through the Middle East. She was hospitalised in Libya where a doctor (British) gave her penicillin which she later learned was about three times the dose she should have been given. About three months later the hairloss began. Her GP here thought it was the high dose of penicillin. It took about 18 months but her hair returned almost, but not quite, to normal. We'll never know for sure what caused it, but at least the hairloss halted and it eventually regrew. Good luck!

Cimbom
06-26-2010, 05:35 AM
Thanks Jennifer. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure it's not due to the surgery. It started before I had it and I was treating it from then but it seems like the treatment only slowed it down a bit. I'm waiting to see another dermatologist soon who can hopefully prescribe me some different hormonal medication to try and stop the loss (and hopefully get some regrowth). Trying to be positive but it seems quite difficult to treat, especially in women. Me and my partner are planning to get married next year and while I'm really happy that my back is straighter and that I can wear a nice dress, I'm hoping I won't be bald by that time. Makes me feel like I'm 74 and not 24 :(

Karen Ocker
06-26-2010, 04:21 PM
The bigger the curve, especially thoracic where the ribs are affected, the less correction / improved cosmesis. The ribs are not rubber bands which snap back into shape. They retain much of the deformity, especially in long standing curves in older persons. When the spinal curves are reduced the hump moves more to the middle with the attached straighter spine.

With the thoracoplasty, which I had done, portions of the "pointed" hump in my case, were removed and the ribs sewn back together. There is a limit to how much hump which can be removed. The lung underneath needs room to expand; the opposite "dented' side remains compressed with that lung already squished. I have restricted lung capacity.

That is why I see red when persons with significant curves wait and wait, thinking "I can always have surgery and get fixed" and the deformity marches on.

Lumbar curves are not attached to the ribs and reducing that curve doesn't involve a hump unless there are other curves in the thorax. Correcting these might result in a jump in height.

In my case I would have loved no hump. It is much smaller, my shoulders/hips are even and I have no pain

ADMoul
06-26-2010, 08:06 PM
If you look at my signature, I still have what many would consider a significant lumbar curve but like Karen, [B][I]I Have no pain! I feel and look like a different person. I know that my rotation was corrected, I stand (and look) straight and tall, esp. compared to what I looked like with a 90 degree lumbar curve. But the most important part to me is that I feel so much better. We talked to some people yesterday who had a 21 year old niece who went through the surgery in Calif. about the same time I did, and they couldn't believe how well I was doing. For me, my future health and pain relief was the biggest priority. The cosmetic aspect was not as important, just kind of a bonus.

jrnyc
06-26-2010, 08:14 PM
hi Anne
i am so happy for you...the pain free aspect sounds the best!

jess

Vali
06-27-2010, 09:52 AM
Being able to stand, walk and sit for more than 10 minutes and to be painfree was my biggest priority. I didn't even give the cosmetic equation a thought. Though i am not happy about my pot belly, i am happy to have my waist back!

Back-out
06-27-2010, 01:43 PM
Being able to stand, walk and sit for more than 10 minutes and to be painfree was my biggest priority. I didn't even give the cosmetic equation a thought. Though i am not happy about my pot belly, i am happy to have my waist back!

Pain relief is the biggie, for sure, Vali, but I'd like to ask others as well as you about this "pot belly" thing. You're a year out from surgery. I'd have thought you and other operated scolis would have been able to rid themselves of the post-surgical effect by then.

No?

I thought the belly was largely a function of bloating, fluid retention and (temporary?) loss of core muscle strength because one was forbidden crunches and whatnot.

What about the rest of you? Can't you do Plates and so on by now to get on top of abs and other muscles? Please tell the truth, as it matters to some of us. Of course, if one doesn't exercise to the limits one can, bellies won't just disappear, I guess, but isn't it within the realm of possibility to tone up within a year?

Vali, did you have a flat tum BEFORE surgery?

Back-out
06-27-2010, 01:53 PM
Incidentally, for those who might think caring about cosmetic improvement is vain or trivial especially in an older "adult" I''d like to point out the difference between having a spouse and not.

As much as one would like to think, inner beauty is what attracts (and hopefully, it's what needs to be there to retain interest, in the end), it's outer beauty - or at least , lack of deformity, that counts for the most at first! This goes in spades when one has a residual disability post surgically, under the best of circumstances. (I know I'll never be able to "pull my weight" in household talks or care-giving. I'll be doing pretty well to be able to care for myself!)

This is an important social reality. It's hard enough for older women to attract partners, especially ones who are themselves not invalided! And having a partner is really important as one ages, as one is constantly reminded in discussing such dangerous surgery...not to mention "mere" companionship!

JenniferG
06-27-2010, 03:41 PM
I had a pot belly for months. I still find myself pulling in my stomach. But these days, in my case I think it's more the fact that my doctor gave me quite a bit of lordosis in my lumbar area, which I'm happy about, and my organs were pushed forward. I think I need to do exercises to tighten my stomach muscles, which aren't what they used to be.

loves to skate
06-27-2010, 06:27 PM
Chris,
This is a great thread. I must say that I am disappointed with the cosmetics. I am very glad I had my surgery as I am able to do so many more things than I could before my surgery. You wouldn't think that a lumbar scoliosis could affect the body shape so much, but it does by shrinking and twisting the torso. I lost 3 inches in height before my surgery and gained maybe 1/2 inch after the surgery. I asked my surgeon why he couldn't get much of a correction and he said he was afraid with my osteopenia the screws might pull out of the bone if he put much force on them. Because of the space the screws take up, my waist is bigger than it was and my clothes don't fit as well. My belly and the extra rolls didn't go away. Oh well, at my age, who am I trying to impress anyway. I thank God every day that I am not in a wheelchair.
Sally

Back-out
06-27-2010, 07:47 PM
Chris,
This is a great thread. I must say that I am disappointed with the cosmetics. I am very glad I had my surgery as I am able to do so many more things than I could before my surgery. You wouldn't think that a lumbar scoliosis could affect the body shape so much, but it does by shrinking and twisting the torso. I lost 3 inches in height before my surgery and gained maybe 1/2 inch after the surgery. I asked my surgeon why he couldn't get much of a correction and he said he was afraid with my osteopenia the screws might pull out of the bone if he put much force on them. Because of the space the screws take up, my waist is bigger than it was and my clothes don't fit as well. My belly and the extra rolls didn't go away. Oh well, at my age, who am I trying to impress anyway. I thank God every day that I am not in a wheelchair.
Sally
Sally, I too have severe lumbar scoliosis and I'm apt to be around the same age as you were when I go for surgery (gradually becoming reconciled/resigned). Likewise, I've lost at least four inches in height from disk height and spinal torsion.. Fearful, now that I won't be able to get any more correction than you - and also about this waistline business.

(Fervently disagree about seniors caring about their figures - as my posts above describe! :p )

Could you please share your pre and post surgery angles? Also, if you had/have kyphosis and if so, where? Again, before and after. (Don't know if you've been following the thread on post-surgical kyphosis and "PJK" - started by sacket)

I'm trying to figure out this business of the screws destroying your waist-line (but it's not a happy thought!). Also wonder about this belly issue too (as I asked elsewhere). You are NOT the first to mention it. :eek: Did you have MORE of a belly after surgery than before, and did you weigh the same? Also, were you able to do any core strengthening exercises after surgery to attack this problem - or was it not a priority?

I have always been somewhat vain about my back/torso (the length and skin). Whereas, what's left of this, is clearly going to be 'gone with the wind' - I am still hoping that I can somehow get my figure back in front more or less, EVENTUALLY.

That is, despite the permanent post-surgical restrictions on the heavy ab/core workouts I have always (almost always!) done. I thought one could do Pilates, isometrics and maybe some targeted weight machines too.

No??

naptown78
06-27-2010, 08:23 PM
I am happy with the cosmetic outcome of my revision surgery. My torso is longer with an actual waistline, flatter tummy, and my shoulders are pulled back. I have always been short-waisted with this made worse after my first surgery and all the complications I went through. So I am so happy now not to be all scrunched up. The only thing I am not too happy with is that I have no butt and that was not made better. But I am not complaining...such a minor thing after what I went through.

Doodles
06-27-2010, 09:26 PM
Elizabeth1st--I got your PM and tried to reply. It says your PM's are set not to receive replies. I'm not sure how you fix that but wanted you to know I tried! Janet

theizzard
06-28-2010, 07:24 AM
I did not get any cosmetic results. I was 5'21/2" and gained an inch from my first fusion and lost it and went into this fusion at 5' and did not gain any height. About 6 months after my surgery I noticed that I have no waistline on my right side. I am straight up and down but the left side does have an indentation for a waist. In other words, laterally, I am more crooked after surgery than before surgery. My kyphosis was fixed so for the time being I stand much straighter. My scoliosis curve was not straightened, which accounts for me being so lob-sided. Before surgery, i couldn't stand up straight enough to see how crooked I was and now I can. Oh joy!! On the bright side, I have no pain in the lumbar or sacral area and that is a blessing. My pain is thoracic in nature and does finally seem to be lessening. I have 2 artificial hips and one of them is talking to me and my right knee is not a happy camper at all. Knee surgery is in my future but it will have to wait until I am finally through with school.
Thanks for the topic.
Avis:D

Susie*Bee
06-28-2010, 02:25 PM
Chris-- I've pondered this one for awhile now... should I say anything? Do I actually have anything to say? Then-- oh what the heck! It's so hard to know when you have some pudge, you know. Waistline? Ha ha! That would be nice. But it's not because of my scoli or my surgery. My weight fluctuates, and this year has been a bad one for me, so I'd say I've got around 35 extra pounds right now. I appear symmetrical-- I looked in the mirror this morning to double check, so I think I would be that way sans the blips and bloops. If you look at my x-rays I look pretty darn straight. I also don't think I have any hump to speak of at all. But I'm wondering how in the heck can you guys look in the mirror to check on that???? I'm quite satisfied with the cosmesis part. I'm working on the weight part again. (I've managed to get it all off in the past-- it's just really hard to do and then creeps its way back on slowly and quietly, so that you don't notice it happening...) So far this summer I've lost 6 lbs. so that is a start. I have great intentions of walking a lot but my sciatica is really giving me grief. Does anyone know-- does walking make it worse, or do you walk through it and tough it out?

I remember in another thread someone talking about being in denial about their "deformity" -- and that brings me back to the being a pudge factor again. If you are just a little pudgy, like I have mostly always been, you can go through life in denial because you just think you have a fat back. That's what I thought. Even the times I got down to the most excellent weight of 120 - 125, etc., there were little rolls/folds back there but I just thought my back was the last place for the "fat" to leave... And it wasn't till just before my surgery that I actually bent over in front of the mirror and saw my hump. I was totally Horrified (YES, with a capital H!) because I never realized I was DEFORMED. So anyway, I guess I could do that (bend over and look in the mirror) then. I can't now, so maybe it has something to do with being fused to T2 and not being able to lift my head high enough now.

Hope I didn't go on too long... :eek:

jrnyc
06-28-2010, 03:09 PM
hi Susie Bee
i havent had surgery...yet..but wanted to tell you that i had an epidural for left leg...the sciatica was getting worse..spreading up and down leg...i was amazed that it worked! i got complete relief...so far...dont know how long it will last...but grateful for now!

don't know if you are up for injections since you had the surgery...

hope you feel better...i've never known walking to help sciatica any...

jess

naptown78
06-28-2010, 03:09 PM
"I never realized I was DEFORMED. "


Interesting comment Susie Bee! I never thought of myself as DEFORMED until my first surgeon said I was in his assessment of my scoliosis. He always talked about my "deformity" as being severe, and I remember the first time I heard him say this, I was a little shocked.

Susie*Bee
06-28-2010, 03:36 PM
"I never realized I was DEFORMED. "


Interesting comment Susie Bee! I never thought of myself as DEFORMED until my first surgeon said I was in his assessment of my scoliosis. He always talked about my "deformity" as being severe, and I remember the first time I heard him say this, I was a little shocked.

Yes, it's a shocker when it seems to come out of the blue! :eek: It was like being hit by a Mack Truck!!! I just couldn't believe it. Oh well. Like anything else, it takes a few days to take it all in, then you tackle it. Life goes on. I've known I have scoli for over 30 years, but have never seen a doctor about it. One just mentioned it to me-- BTW, do you know you have scoliosis? So I knew I "had" it, but didn't know anything about progression or anything at all. I had other problems to deal with in life, like melanoma, then later my family kept me busy. :) I was fine. But that arthritis in my back got really bad in my mid 50s! That's when I found out what was really wrong... THE DEFORMITY. ;)

Thanks, Jess. I'm seeing my scoli doc in early August. If I'd had my brain on right, I would have mentioned it to the neurologist I've been seeing about my migraines. I've just been thinking of this problem as a hip/lower back pain that goes down into my leg. I just recently (as in real recently) realized that is what sciatica is... duh. :o

Susie*Bee
06-28-2010, 05:25 PM
Also, as far as cosmesis goes, I was just starting to develop a little bit of a dowager's hump/kyphosis-- although I wasn't aware of it. Dr. H pointed it out to me. I guess kind of like you, in that sense, nap. You can see it in my digital x-rays. So that was a plus with my surgery. That is gone.

Back-out
06-28-2010, 05:59 PM
Re:
"I never realized I was DEFORMED. "

I try to regard this as medical terminology and not the usual sense of the word - as with so many others.

I still remember the shock I felt at finding "elderly primigravida" written on my hospital chart (and bed!) when I was giving birth to my first son. Fer Pete's sake, I was only thirty-three years old!

Evidently, for that time and place, though, that was considered unusually old for a first child (and with a certain degree more risk than average).

"Elderly" is just medical terminology, in that context - but, ouch! It wasn't pleasant to behold. Somehow I doubt that would fly in today's Hollywood! :D I was in Haifa, Israel a few decades ago, though, and besides, English didn't have the same KAPOWEY for the other patients as it did for me!

Anyhow, likewise for "deformed"

CHRIS WBS
06-29-2010, 08:38 AM
Chris,
This is a great thread. I must say that I am disappointed with the cosmetics. I am very glad I had my surgery as I am able to do so many more things than I could before my surgery. You wouldn't think that a lumbar scoliosis could affect the body shape so much, but it does by shrinking and twisting the torso. I lost 3 inches in height before my surgery and gained maybe 1/2 inch after the surgery. I asked my surgeon why he couldn't get much of a correction and he said he was afraid with my osteopenia the screws might pull out of the bone if he put much force on them. Because of the space the screws take up, my waist is bigger than it was and my clothes don't fit as well. My belly and the extra rolls didn't go away. Oh well, at my age, who am I trying to impress anyway. I thank God every day that I am not in a wheelchair.
Sally

I donít know, Sally. You looked awfully cute to me in your little skating outfit.;)

Avis, I sure admire you for continuing your education in-between all your orthopedic adventures. No small feat on your part, thatís for sure. Good for you.

Susie, as a grandmother youíve earned every right to have pudge.:) I do see the development of a dowagerís hump on your x-ray. Good thing the surgery took care of that.

Amanda, elderly at 33Ögood grief.:eek:

JanL
06-29-2010, 07:38 PM
I still have a rib hump - I can tell it is smaller because before surgery it had gotten to the point where I couldn't lay on my back comfortably. It would be nice to be perfect - totally derotated - but, the big bonus for me is that I am able to stand and walk as long as I like. I used to feel like I was collapsing. Now I feel strong. The biggest surprise to me is that my scar curves in the thoracic area. Everyone else's looks straight in the pictures I see. I thought there would be a straight incision and everything pulled as close to center as possible? I was told going in I would get about a 50% reduction. I never ask my Dr about the cosmetic result because I don't want to seem shallow. My main motivator for having the surgery was to stay upright in my later years.

LisaB
06-29-2010, 08:44 PM
I'm starting to get a little nervous now about the cosmetic outcome of surgery after reading these posts. I'm scheduled with Dr Bridwell Aug 31. At my first appointment with all of the xrays he said that my spine was still flexible(even though I just turned 56). I haven't yet asked him how much correction he expects to get but I will at my next appointment which is July 19.

Confusedmom
06-30-2010, 02:33 PM
I still have a rib hump - I can tell it is smaller because before surgery it had gotten to the point where I couldn't lay on my back comfortably. It would be nice to be perfect - totally derotated - but, the big bonus for me is that I am able to stand and walk as long as I like. I used to feel like I was collapsing. Now I feel strong. The biggest surprise to me is that my scar curves in the thoracic area. Everyone else's looks straight in the pictures I see. I thought there would be a straight incision and everything pulled as close to center as possible? I was told going in I would get about a 50% reduction. I never ask my Dr about the cosmetic result because I don't want to seem shallow. My main motivator for having the surgery was to stay upright in my later years.

Jan,

I am probably going to have surgery with Dr. Bridwell. Would you mind telling me what correction you got (degrees) and whether you still have any pain?

Thanks!
Evelyn

CHRIS WBS
06-30-2010, 03:27 PM
I never ask my Dr about the cosmetic result because I don't want to seem shallow.

I donít think itís shallow at all, Jan. In fact, in his book Dr. Neuwirth encourages patients to discuss with their surgeons how important cosmesis is to them. This could make all the difference in surgical approaches.

JanL
06-30-2010, 04:53 PM
All my pre op xrays have numbers and lines drawn in all over, but my post op xrays do not. Dr Bridwell says he got about a 50% reduction so I guess it's about 33 Thoracic and 25 Lumbar. My lumbar area looks better than the thoracic area. I've tried to attach my xrays but no luck. I am technically challenged.

JanL
06-30-2010, 05:02 PM
PS - No pain to speak of. There was a time at about 18 months that my butt hurt, thought it may be screw - I have a prominent iliac screw on the right side. But it passed and was probably muscular. But I am always amazed at how little pain I have had.

Confusedmom
07-01-2010, 03:26 AM
That's very encouraging--thanks so much!!

Evelyn