View Full Version : My 85 year-old father is being advised to have a fusion

07-23-2010, 11:10 AM
He uses a walker to get around and recently started feeling numbness in his feet. He's barely able to move, even with the walker. He consulted with Dr. Angiovine at Columbia Presbyterian in 11/09, who said Dad had a herniated disk but he should leave it alone. Now, Dr. A has looked at Dad's new x-rays and says the herniation is much larger and that he has scoliosis of his lumbar spine (don't know what degree) and so should have a fusion. Without it, Angiovine says, he could end up paralyzed.

My father's heart/lung/etc functions are all quite robust, but since my 15 year-old son just went through a fusion and I'm living the difficult recovery, I don't know how my father would get through it. I'm hoping to get him to consult with other doctors in NYC.

Advice? Suggestions? Doctor referrals?

07-23-2010, 11:41 AM
85. One level? Minimally invasive?

Linda sees elder scoli patients at UCSF. How old, I donít know.....

In NYC, a trip to HSS (Hospital for special surgery) to see Dr Boachie would be a good move....

Good luck

07-23-2010, 07:29 PM
Hi Trav...

Do you know the type of surgery that is being recommended? A full scoliosis fusion at 85 is a lot, although the surgeons at UCSF have done them with good results, in patients that are in good health. If they're talking about a 1- or 2- level fusion, your father could have great results and a big improvement in his quality of life.


07-25-2010, 01:36 PM
Hi Linda,

I don't know how many levels they're talking about fusing. When Dad said his doctor had recommended a fusion, (in addition to fixing the herniated disk he has), I grew alarmed. I said I thought he needed to hear from more than one doctor before he undertakes this.

He then called Dr. Boachie, who said he doesn't do the type of surgery my dad needs, but he gave him the names of Russel Huang and Alexander Hughes at HSS. I'll go with him this time when he has his appointments. (Last time, he didn't tell me!)

It's encouraging to hear that you have experience with 85 year-olds who've have good results! Any more input (for instance, NYC doctor recommendations) would be gratefully appreciated.


07-27-2010, 12:14 AM
Hi Bonnie,

What a mental drain for you!!! I have an Aunt that is 86, she had 3 dics'
repaired last Feb., within 8 weeks she was bowling again, against all of our disapproval. But she fine, she can kick her legs up higher than I can. But I don't think she could have gone through a full fusion surgery. But we never know.

I sort of know how you feel, I felt guilty about my negative thoughts, about her age, would never had the guts to say it to her face. And now I'm so glad she had it done, for hersake.

You just never know,