View Full Version : The I'm Happy I Had Surgery Sticky Thread

12-05-2011, 10:56 PM
This thread is for anyone who wants to post details about their good surgical outcomes. Please post your details, including the approximate date of your surgery, your age at the time, the name of your surgeon, and the levels that were fused. No debates or discussions will be allowed. If you have a question about a poster, please send them a private message.

12-05-2011, 11:29 PM
Date of surgery: March 3, 2009
Age at the time: almost 58
Surgeon: Dr. Geoffrey Askin, Mater Private, Brisbane, Australia.
Levels fused: T4-Sacrum with Pelvic Fixation
Curve pre-op: 68 degrees
Curve post-op: 22 degrees
Recovery details: In hospital 19 days, difficulty sitting for about 3 weeks, experienced dizziness for 7 weeks. At six months went on holiday with Dr.'s blessing: trekking, snorkling, swimming. Felt 100% but improvements continued up to 2 years.
Problems experienced pre-op: Standing was my main problem. 30 seconds and I was in pain when I had to stand, which meant it was very painful doing lots of things. Lower back pain mainly. Would describe my pain pre-op as moderate but increasing.
Current details: No pain whatsoever, can stand or walk as long as I want. Hoping this will continue for the rest of my life.

12-06-2011, 11:37 AM
I am currently 11 months post-op and have never regretted having the surgery. I will be estactic if I get a good report from Dr. Lenke in Jaunuary for my year check-up. I have already returned to tap dancing by modifying the high impact steps. I walk several miles each day and go to water aerobics a couple of days a week. I hope to return to golfing in February (Florida Vacation-yeah!) I continue to get compliments on my new physical appearance with my improved posture and increased height. I constantly feel my back where the rib hump used to be and am thrilled that it is totally gone. I love Dr. Lenke!

Date of Surgery: January 5, 2011
Age at the time: 60
Surgeon: Dr. Lenke-St. Louis
Fused: T4 to Sacrum with Pelvic Fixation (other details in signature)
Hospital Stay: 6 days-no rehab. but husband was able to be home with me for over a month

No post surgery complications other than the typical abdomen pain from constipation.
Blacked out at 3 weeks post op & stopped oxy. I discontinued all pain meds except Tylenol at 5 weeks and soon felt relief from the abdomen pain and started having a social life, again.

I was physically active prior to surgery, which might be a factor in my smooth recovery. Fortunately, I had very little pre-surgery pain which allowed me to exercise a great deal.

12-06-2011, 12:29 PM
Thanks for this great thread to Linda for the idea and to all the posters. The info is very helpful. For both the "Glad I had surgery," and "Unhappy I had surgery," it would be good to add one more piece of info--Problems pre-surgery (extent of pain, area of pain, any disability), etc.

12-06-2011, 02:31 PM
Hi, I had revision surgery May,and June (posterior, anterior) That was the best thing I did, I feel great, Dr. Kahaled Kebaish at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore,Md. I am fused from T5 to Pelvic, He did a PSO. I had flatback and saggital imbalance. I am 68, I was in hospital 1 week no rehab. Just a lot of walking, and returned to work in Sept. as a hairdresser 3 days a week. I hope everyone has the same results I had, Lu

12-06-2011, 04:38 PM
Well, I haven't had scoliosis surgery but my son has, does that count? If not go ahead and delete.

My son was about 12.5 when he was first diagnosed with scoliosis. His curve was already at about 48* and surgery seemed like the only option. Wait times here in BC for a consultation with a spine specialist is at least a year and if surgery is needed, then you're looking at about two years. So for a good 1.5 years we watched his spine go from 48* to about 110*-115* and he could no longer participate in PE at school and it hurt for him to just sit in the chairs at school and walking a few blocks caused him so much pain. It hurt for him to cough or sneeze and he said it felt as though a "hot knife was sticking in his back".

No luck with BC Children's hospital, so we contacted Shriners and he had his first surgery (posterior release) & halo traction application on March 22nd. 2011 and his posterior fusion from T4-L2 with four weeks of halo traction in between the surgeries. He is about seven months post op now and he says he feels great! He is also four inches taller from being stretched out. He says he has no pain, just tenderness, was off all meds after about a month and is attending high school full time with no issues.

Are we happy he had the surgery(s). Umm, YES!!

12-06-2011, 07:15 PM
Iím extremely pleased. I think about all the pain I endured through the years, and you know what?

It wasnít worth it.

12-07-2011, 01:15 AM
Surgery January 10, 2011
49 years old
Dr. Kathleen Moore
Fused T3 to S1 with pelvic fixation
pre op curves- both in the 70's
post op curves- both 35 degrees

I have done extremely well and would do it again in a heartbeat. I have my life back. No more sciatica pain, back pain, or pain from ribs sitting on my rib cage. I can drive/fly long distances, bike, hike, rollerskate, (I hope to go skiing in a few months!), cook elaborate dinners (standing at the sink for long periods of time were nearly my undoing), do some landscaping,-all the things I love but were nearly impossible to do before surgery. I haven't found anything that I can't do yet!

12-07-2011, 10:49 AM
Thank you for considering those of us that are still debating. We need these stories to help us make a decision. And I am with Lisa, who suggested adding the problems expirienced before surgery.

THanks to all who respond.


12-07-2011, 05:36 PM
Date: December 7, 2010
Age: 65
Surgeon: Dr. Frank Rand
Procedure: Laminectomy L3, L4, L5; Vertebroplasty T9-T10
Transforaminal Decompression L1, L2, L3, L4, L5, and L5-S1
Bil. right L4-L5 disc excision; PSIF T10-S1 w/BIL
Intra-pelvic fixation plus local autograft
BMP and allograft; corrective spinal maneuver

I am very happy I had this done. It wasn't easy but it has been a positive life-changing event.


loves to skate
12-10-2011, 07:23 AM
Even though I am not totally pain free, I am still happy I had surgery because, prior to surgery I was not able to walk very far, stand for more than 10 minutes and could no longer roller skate or generally enjoy life. Recovery was really tough for me but by three months, I was off of the narcotics. Once off of the narcotics, I realized I had residual nerve pain in my right leg for which I take Neurontin. At about two years post-op I had another surgery to decompress the nerves. I was hopeful that the nerve pain would eventually go away, but it has not and at this point, four years post-op, is probably permanent. Eleven months after my surgery, I was allowed to go back to roller skating which was a joy for me. After my surgery, I am able to walk a mile or two (if it wasn't for bad knees and ankles, I could walk more), stand in the kitchen to prepare meals and can pretty much do anything I want to do. Since we moved a year and 1/2 ago, I don't have a skating rink that has adult skating, so I have taken up line dancing which is almost as much fun. I also have a great social life in our new location. Moving at age 70 is not much fun, but would have been impossible if I hadn't had surgery.

12-10-2011, 03:06 PM
Date: March 10, 2010
Age: 18
Surgeon: Dr. Munish Gupta
Procedure: Posterior Spinal Fusion T4-L2, Thoracoplasty
Curve Before: 50 Degrees
Curve After: 20 Degrees

12-10-2011, 08:34 PM
I'm very happy. So far, so good--knock on wood!

12-11-2011, 10:06 AM
Date of Surgery: January 1986
Age at the time: 10 (I'd had infantile idiopathic scoliosis, so had grown up wearing EDF plaster casts and Milwaukee braces up until this point)
Surgeon: Michael Edgar, RNOH Stanmore, UK
Fused: T1-T12, Harrington Rod with Luque wires
Hospital Stay: Thoracic anterior release (open thoracotomy), 3 weeks in halo-tibial traction, posterior fusion - 6 weeks in total

Date of Surgery: June 1994
Age at the time: 18
Surgeon: Michael Edgar, Middlesex Hospital, London UK
Fused: Removal of Harrington rod and replacement with a longer rod, placement of anterior Zielke rod to include lumbar curve, fusion T1-L3. Costoplasty
Hospital Stay: 3 weeks

Date of Surgery: Sept 2001
Age at the time: 25
Surgeon: Mr Burgoyne, Middlesex Hospital, London UK
Fused: Second costoplasty to gain more cosmetic correction as I had such a "sharp" rib hump
Hospital Stay: 2 weeks

Date of Surgery: June 2009
Age at the time: 34
Surgeon: Stewart Tucker, RNOH Stanmore / Wellington Private Hospital, London, UK
Fused: Fusion extended one level down to L4 to include degenerated disc, using XLIF minimally-invasive technique
Hospital Stay: 1 week

I'm ever so happy that I had all of these surgeries and my back does not stop me from doing anything, I've had a great career and spent my university days clubbing and these days I enjoy climbing mountains and cycling. I'm more active than many of my friends with normal spines. At school I always took part in normal PE activities throughout. The length of my hospital stays were all typical for the time.

12-13-2011, 08:56 PM
What a great idea for a thread, both pro and con!
I fall in the category of "really super glad I had surgery". I had curves 91 and 86 degrees (previous fusion in two areas in 1967, but my curves were progressing) and lumbar stenosis ("no detectable spinal fluid" at L4). I did not really have pain, but could not stand for more than 20 minutes w/ out resting.
I had surgery w/ Dr Lenke in August of 2010, fused T1 to sacrum. It was an extremely challenging thing to go through, but, to me worth it in every way. If I was told that I needed to have it done right now, I would gladly hop in the car and go have surgery, no question!! That's a silly scenario, but that's how enthusiastic I am about the results of my surgery.
My curves are now 50 and 45. I feel fantastic. Tons of energy and flexibility.
happy !!!

12-14-2011, 06:45 AM
I'm glad I had it done. It was a long and tough recovery and I continued to improve for 3 full years. I was down to 4'-9" and shrinking rapidly -- but now I'm glad to be a towering 4'-11 and 1/2" !!

12-14-2011, 08:21 AM
Date of surgery-3/11/2010
Surgery lasted 10 hours
In hospital for 8 days.
Fused T2-L4 with a thoraplasty

I am very pleased I had this surgery, I would be much worse off if I hadnt-it was progressing.
I feel straight, my rib hump has gone and I am enjoying clothes in the same way I did when I was a teenager.I can finally sit on a bench and any other flat back chairs.
Now im 13mths post op I can feel myself getting better week by week-I still have pain but its usually if ive been overdoing things.

12-21-2011, 03:51 PM
Date of surgery: 10/1/10
Age: 50
Surgeon: Dr Munish Gupta @ UC Davis Med Center
Fused T2-L3 with thoracoplasty
Days in hospital: 19
Complications: Pleural effusion, anemia, frozen shoulder

It has taken me over a full year to recover to where I can say that I'm happy that I had the surgery. I'm still stiff here and there and most of my discomfort occurs below my fusion. My spine is straight, my back is flat, and my surgeon is happy with the results too. Before my surgery I could not sit at my computer for much longer than 1/2 hour before my back would really begin to hurt. My heating pad was becoming a common companion! I can't even recall the last time I used my heating pad...I love the feel of sitting against a chair and feeling the back of it on both sides of my back at the same time! Wow! I can also ride on my husband's motorcycle all day if I want to and not have pain after just a short time.

I know that my body is still healing and I will only keep feeling better.

12-22-2011, 03:59 PM
Here's my daughter's experience:

Date of surgery: December 7, 2004
Diagnosed at age 12 (Scoliosis 36* and Kyphosis 79*)
Grade II Spondylolisthesis untreated
Surgery at the age of 13
Surgery was done by Dr. Lee Segal
Fused from T3-L2 with Osteotomies at T6-T7 level, T7-T8 level and T8-T9 level; no pedicle screws were used
Days in hospital: 6

Has junctional Kyphosis following surgery.

Jamie has always been happy she had the surgery. Is she happy about the junctional Kyphosis? No, but when her surgeon offered to extend her fusion she said no. Thankfully, it hasn't progressed. She is a confident 20 year old young lady who enjoys life to the fullest without an real restrictions.

12-26-2011, 03:24 AM
I had the surgery on the 11th August 2011. It's easy to forget what it was like a fortnight before and become impatient, but every now and then I do something that makes me realise how far I have come, like starting to spontaneously run across the road before I slow myself down to be careful. I must say yesterday at Xmas I hardly thought about it. I wore one of those fitted around the waste floral 50's style dresses and felt balanced. I would never have wore something like that for the past few years because of my uneven hips, and once when I tried I was in a lot of pain with kind of cramping muscles down my right side. I remember having to unzip my back zipper as soon as I got in the car to relieve it. This doesn't happen anymore so a lot of shifting has occurred in the muscles of my right side. Overall I only had some discomfort before surgery and some nerve impingement, as well as a collapsing feeling in my torso. Because I wasn't in severe pain before surgery I have felt worse after surgery, although the nerve impingement has gone. The discomfort is decreasing, whereas I feel without the surgery the discomfort would have increased, and looking at my Xray, it was evident and Dr Cree said I was facing strife. My left side has felt pretty perfect since surgery, all the soreness and numbness has been on the right previously concave side. I've been over the sheer exhaustion for a few weeks now. I am starting to see an end in sight for the remaining discomfort that comes and goes. I'm not sure how much, if any, of the soreness and numbness I have experienced has come from the bone harvest from my iliac crest on the right side. That was done through the same central incision. I am bending a bit more easily and naturally but I am still a little restricted and don't feel like vacuuming, but that could be becoming an excuse now because I was raging around the shopping centre with a full shopping trolley the few days before Xmas, though it did make me a bit sore. I get out of bed normally but do feel a bit restricted and awkward moving around in bed (if you know what I mean, but that is improving). My boyfriend admitted to me today prior to surgery he was avoiding looking at my waist area because I was suddenly looking bent and twisted. Weird when in the past I considered myself to have a good figure. Overall I'm glad I had the surgery. I remember thinking in hospital, Ō would hate to be older going through this, but the bowel ileus was a big culprit that delayed my recovery. I would recommend only eating very lightly for first few days after surgery. I was ravenous immediately and I don't think eating what I liked for the first couple of days helped. I'm glad this is behind me and I had Dr Cree who has the reputation as one of the top if not the top, scoli surgeons in Australia.

12-27-2011, 03:34 PM
One of the best things (although hard) that's ever happened to me.

12-29-2011, 09:33 PM
My surgeon - Dr John Grauer, Yale
Age 38 at surgery
Hospital stay: 4 days (2 SICU/2 ortho floor)
Length of surgery: 6 hrs

I had so much pain pre-op that I had to think before getting out of bed, standing up from a chair, going anywhere, etc.

Although I still have soreness and pain in some places, the pain is so much less. I can walk for miles (and I am not a walker - I hate hiking! Maybe I should say, I CAN SHOP FOR MILES) where previously I couldn't.

It was September before I ever thought I was glad I had the surgery. Seven months. I went to work, then went and waited on line because we had tickets for Colbert Report. I stood on line outside for 1.5 hours, then stood in the green room just as long, watched the show being taped, then walked 5 blocks to dinner and took a train home. Pre-op, that would not have been possible for me, not in the least.

I miss dancing like I used to. I miss a lot of things about the way my body used to move. I don't miss the pain. I don't miss worrying if this was in my future.

All in all, my experience was positive and I pray to whatever is out there that I never have to do it again.

12-30-2011, 08:07 PM
I am almost 2 years post-op and there are times when I still can't believe how much better my life is because of my surgery. I do not feel limited in any way and can stand and teach, cook, sing and do pretty much whatever I want without back pain. No, I do not have perfect cosmetic results, nor do I care. I am healthy and pain-free and it is amazing the change that occurs both physically and mentally once you are released from chronic pain. People have told me they can even see it in my face and outlook on life. It was not an easy process, but looking back on my recovery, I was very fortunate in a lot of ways. My husband calls me the poster child for spinal fusion surgery. I don't know that I'd go that far but am very glad I had it done and am incredibly grateful to have found the right surgeon.

12-31-2011, 01:56 PM
I, too, am very happy I had my surgery. The surgery was successful as it stabilized my curves from any further progression, its main goal-- and actually my curves are barely there anymore-- main curve is just 15ļ. (x-ray links are in my signature). I have some limitations, but did before the surgery anyway, because of the aches and pain. Now I can do almost everything I want to do. (Note the word WANT.) Some people change their desires when their abilities change... I am still under a BLT restriction because of my lower lumbars (since they are not fused), but can lift about 25 lbs. I am so pleased with how well my surgeon did. And I can't stress enough how each year has brought more ability and energy... My posture is terrific and I look good and feel pretty darn good, too, almost all of the time. I do not take any pain meds. I am so glad I had my surgery!

01-21-2012, 10:47 PM
Date: March 6, 2009
Surgeon: Dr Ganesh Swamy, Calgary, Alberta
Fused: T4 to L4
Curves: both 55 degrees (20 post-op)
Age: 25
Approx Recovery: Felt good at 1 yr, Felt recovered at 2 yrs
Gave Birth 2 Ĺ yrs Post-Op

I was in a lot of pain pre-op. I am a snowboarder and generally do not like to take life slow, pain or no pain. At the end of the day when I laid in bed I would shake uncontrollably as my body ‘relaxed’ into a flat on my back position. I could go on and on about the pre-op bad stuff but ...Post-Op, almost pain free!

And aside from the pain issues I feel so confident due to the visual correction of my humps and posture. Before if I was facing you head on, my waist would be pointed about 45 degrees to the side. It was hard to dress my curves but now I can show off my real curves! ;) lol

While preggers for my gal Avery, I had many other pregnant friends and acquaintances and I had no back pain compared to them and gave birth naturally without pain killers (I wanted them, it just happened too fast and therefore it was too late for the pain killers.) Didn’t even notice back pain at all during labour.

I had to fight for the chance to have my operation. It was worth it! Just wish I could have had it sooner!

01-22-2012, 12:18 AM
Is it okay to ask what your pre-op and post-op curves were?

01-24-2012, 10:33 AM
Surgery Date: June 23, 2008
Age at time of surgery: 59
Procedure: Posterior fusion T4 to sacrum with pelvic fixation, including laminectomies and osteotemies (12 hours in surgery)
Nearly 80 degree stiff thoracolumbar curve corrected to 35 degrees
Surgeon: Purnendu Gupta/University of Chicago Medical Center

I did not experience pain from my scoliosis until I reached age 56. By then I could feel the collapse. Standing for any length of time was impossible. I found myself leaning on objects for support. Now I can stand indefinitely. I returned to work as a paralegal four months following my surgery, and I am still working full time. I have experienced no problems following my surgery nearly four years ago. Ideally, I should have had this fixed at least 10 years sooner.

My best advice for those exploring surgery is to select a top-notch surgeon with a lot of experience in adult scoliosis. You may have to travel to a large metropolitan area where you can have access to such surgeons who are generally affiliated with major teaching hospitals. But itís worth it. This is your life. I live near Chicago and have noted through this forum and a support group Iíve attended that people who have had their surgeries by some of the top doctors in Chicago do not report incidences of broken rods or sagittal imbalance.

I experienced my first fall over the weekend since my surgery. I slipped on black ice on my driveway and tumbled half-way down. Have lots of bumps and bruises but my back is fine.

01-27-2012, 06:48 PM
Im very happy I had my surgery. I had a prior surgery in Indy (home of the Superbowl!!) for spondylolisthesis by Dr Sasso. Fused L4-S1. That went very well and corrected that problem. A year and a half later I wanted my scoliosis fixed and Dr Bridwell in St Louis at Wash U did that surgery. I was 56 at the time. I'm fused T3-L1. No problems or complications. No pain. I am 17 months post op and have played golf 3 times recently, I work out with a trainer once a week and on my own other days. I feel great. Although Dr Bridwell still has me on some restrictions, I can basically do everything. Very happy and wish I had known they could fix this when I was younger!

02-08-2012, 01:59 PM
Surgery facts:
Age 28 at time of surgery
Pre-op: Double major curves measuring 52 T&L in September 2010
Fused T4-L4, all posterior December 27th 2010
Surgeon: Dr. Joseph Flynn, Orlando FL
gained almost two inches in height
Post-op curves measuring below 15 degrees, both T&L

See my sig below for before and after photos!

---I am very glad I had the surgery when I did.

My scoliosis was progressing, and causing me pain. I had a nerve that had become impinged in the apex of my curve by a herniated disc, and 3 smaller surgeries had not been able to fix the problem.

I was continuing to become more hunched, and I had pain that radiated down both of my legs. My surgeon predicted that if I waited, I would absolutely reach 60 degree curves by the time I was 38. Since surgery seemed very likely at some point in my future, I decided I'd rather have it now and hoped that it would in the very least reduce some of my pain. My surgeon did not think that my nerve pain would be that reduced, as I had been experiencing the debilitating pain for 3 years at that point, but he did think having the surgery would keep it from getting worse.

I am very happy with my results. Not only is my spine pretty much straight (less than 15 degrees both T & L), I have no rib hump, and my shoulders are no longer hunched and crooked. The biggest plus is that the pain in my right leg disappeared around 3 months post op, and the pain in my left leg is down to a 1-3 level, depending on my activity. Before the surgery it was a constant 7-8, sometimes worse if I was active.

I feel more stable, I can stand for hours, walk for hours, and can bend to reach things off the floor even with my long fusion. I feel like the surgery gave me the keys to a new life. I do have challenges, and I am definitely not pain free, but I am %100 better off than I was before the surgery.

Instead of worrying about when I would need to have the surgery, or if it would interfere with my desire to raise children, I am now able to focus on work, family, fun, and trying to adopt. I feel like a weight was lifted off my shoulders to have it done.

I know I may need to have further surgery down the road (hopefully not for 30 years!) to fuse my lowest vertebra. But even if I do, I will NOT regret having the surgery now. It has changed my life for the better, and I am very thankful that I was able to come out of it so well. I would do it all over again.

02-12-2012, 08:41 PM
Surgery Date: March 16, 2010
Age at time of surgery: 41
Surgeon: Dr. Christopher Good
Fused: T10- Sacrum with pelvic fixation

I couldn't be happier with my results. I'm back to golfing and about anything else I want with absolutely no pain or discomfort.


02-19-2012, 04:46 PM
To celebrate my surgery being over, and my graduation from an MA program, in May, the month before my surgery, my husband and I went to Hawaii. One highlight of that was a trip to the summit of Mauna Kea (by jeep, I definitely didn't hike it.) In the past I've had horrible problems with altitude and we weren't sure it was a good idea for me to go. But I really wanted to, so I did. I go to a cabin in Colorado every year, which is at 9000 feet and I've had some problems there the last few years with the altitude. Mauna Kea is almost 15000 feet, so I was really really pleasantly surprised to feel almost no altitude effects. I'm guess that it has to be the increased lung capacity from the surgery. I also handled riding up the mountain on a very bumpy road with no pain, and I was able to be fairly active in Hawaii, although I didn't do any rugged hikes. We did walk a lot, and I got in the ocean in places where it was gentle-- no rugged surf. I got through the trip with far less pain that I would have had before the surgery. Here's more detail about how I feel:

Things that are better from the surgery:
Hip pain -- gone
Sciatic nerve pain-- gone
Lower back pain-- almost totally gone, may still get better
Hump on upper right back-- gone -- both the pain, and the ugly hump
Lung capacity--- apparently much better
Height-- two inches taller
Waist-- two inches smaller, not counting the weight loss that followed. Sadly, I've gained back much of the weight, but that's partly because I lost a lot of muscle mass. Partly because when my appetite came back and my metabolism slowed down again, I still couldn't do any aerobic activity. But overall the waist is still about two inches smaller, just because there's not a curved spine in there.
Headaches-- greatly reduced, but that might be due to almost finishing menopause rather than the spine
Posture-- I sit like the Queen now, and can sit ramrod straight for hours -- because I have no real choice. :)
Balance-- I can stand on one foot easily now, and I haven't been able to do that for years

Things that are worse:
Flexibility-- back doesn't bend anymore, so it affects my gait a bit, and I'm working on that. I tend to lean forward and walk on my tiptoes when I'm not thinking about it.
Big toe pain-- this seems so random, but the worst pain after the first two weeks is/was my big toe. Fortunately it's calmed down quite a bit, but the sciatic nerve was so pinched that I had almost no feeling on the inside half of my right foot for the last 5 years or so. Now that the pinching is removed, the nerve regeneration makes my big toe throb at times. I thought I must have broken it, or gotten gout or something, but it's just nerve pain. Painkillers don't work well on nerve pain, so that's been something I had to put up with.
Fatigue-- this was a big one till recently, but I'm back to pretty much normal, or better, stamina. It has been 7 or 8 years since I could stand for more than about ten minutes comfortably, and now I'm not sure how long I could stand if I had to.

Overall, the things that are better FAR outweigh the things that are worse. My spine is not straight-- it's about 28 degrees now rather than 58 degrees. Partly that's because one vertebrae had enough deterioration that the surgeon couldn't put screws there, and he had to be extra careful with straightening that part-- but I'm still very very happy with the result. My recommendation to anyone considering surgery is to start as soon as possible to eat a healthy diet and exercise as much as you can. I'm sure it helped me with my outcome, and I was NOT in good shape six months before the surgery. I started an exercise program and worked out as hard as I could, lost about 12 pounds before the surgery. I think it helped a great deal.

03-02-2012, 05:26 PM
I have not been on the forum site often since my surgery but plan to provide more update and photos soon.

I am only 4 months post-op. Even at this early stage of recovery, I have never regretted having the surgery. I have truly understood all that I have been feeling post-op has been toward recovery, that it was a healing process. And yes, my body has been adjusting to it's new configuration, and I am delighted.

my surgery details:
surgery: October, 2011
my age at surgery: 60 yrs old
Dr. Boachie-Adjei
fused T3-sacrum
flatback correction
pre op curves:
upper: 58*
lower: 68*
post op curves:
upper: 23*
lower: 24*

Pre-op symptoms: though diagnosed at 12 yrs old, curve/symptoms not significant until much later in life, becoming more and more difficult and painful in past 10 years. Most pain muscular in lumbar area and upper area making standing, walking, sitting for any significant length of time difficult. Specific pain began to be targets in lumbar area from shifting vertebrae. Shrunk 2 1/2 inches.

post op: I'm now ONLY 4 months post-op and obviously still feeling recovery pains, but becoming stronger and having fewer and fewer issues each and every week.

Even at this early stage, I have much more range of movement, more endurance, and less pain than I had fearfully anticipated. What a terrific feeling!

05-26-2012, 01:34 PM
I am terrified about recovery as I am not even scheduled yet but you could me my twin younger sister. I am 62 and both my curves are close to 90. I am beginning to understanc how people in this forum use the phrase CROSS OVER in a real sense. What has scared me are those advise about getting as fit as possible before the surgery (I am in such pain the any little action like swimming or floating in water that places me back in bed and vicoden for several days)

Then, we have many who says they walk a mile to 5 miles per day after so many months after surgery because it helps the bone to grow. Never ever been able to walk from here to far away there (not even at a mall) has been a major challenge that setting myself to be able to do that seems like I will be doomed for failure. I would be ecstatic to be able to report next year or two that indeed walking 5 miles is a breeze.

Thank you for sharing. Gardenia

I have not been on the forum site often since my surgery but plan to provide more update and photos soon.

I am only 4 months post-op. Even at this early stage of recovery, I have never regretted having the surgery. I have truly understood all that I have been feeling post-op has been toward recovery, that it was a healing process. And yes, my body has been adjusting to it's new configuration, and I am delighted.

my surgery details:
surgery: October, 2011
my age at surgery: 60 yrs old
Dr. Boachie-Adjei
fused T3-sacrum
flatback correction
pre op curves:
upper: 58*
lower: 68*
post op curves:
upper: 23*
lower: 24*

Pre-op symptoms: though diagnosed at 12 yrs old, curve/symptoms not significant until much later in life, becoming more and more difficult and painful in past 10 years. Most pain muscular in lumbar area and upper area making standing, walking, sitting for any significant length of time difficult. Specific pain began to be targets in lumbar area from shifting vertebrae. Shrunk 2 1/2 inches.

post op: I'm now ONLY 4 months post-op and obviously still feeling recovery pains, but becoming stronger and having fewer and fewer issues each and every week.

Even at this early stage, I have much more range of movement, more endurance, and less pain than I had fearfully anticipated. What a terrific feeling!

05-26-2012, 04:00 PM
Gardenia, why not start a new thread...??
i believe this thread is for those who have already had surgery and
are glad they did it...


05-26-2012, 04:36 PM
Paula - I got a chuckle out of your comment: "Posture-- I sit like the Queen now, and can sit ramrod straight for hours -- because I have no real choice."
So true! - I easily picked my son out of an entire section of band kids in the auditorium as they were watching other bands perform - he was the only kid sitting ramrod straight, head & shoulders above the rest - he couldn't slouch if he tried lol.

We are unbelievably thankful every single day for this surgery. Up until his fall the other day, Jacob had been in absolutely NO pain for months (except when he overdid in a basketball game 6 wks ago). Early recovery was not a cake walk, but with prep, walking & staying on top of the pain it was much better than we anticipated.
Sneezing still is a momentarily uncomfortable problem - waiting as neck flexibility continues to improve. But other than that, Jacob has his life back & is now continuing w at home PT, walking & building up to be able to do the day-long marching band practices, which begin in August, w a snare drum. Went on a hiking trip at 3 mos post surg, rides his bike all over, boogie boards, shoots hoops. He was unable to do any of this before surgery due to pain which had started over a year before & rapidly worsened around Sept/Oct of 2011. His two ribs humps are gone.

Would recommend Dr. Geof Cronen & Tampa General without hesitation. Jacob's specs are in signature below; his curves are now under 10%, so no longer has scoliosis. Lordosis was corrected in same surgery for a beautiful, pain-free back.

07-08-2012, 07:03 PM
Shari in Michigan, at surgery 49 years old.
Pre-Surgery 62 degree thorasic curve
Post op 13 degree curve.
Successful surgery 4/15/10, T2-L2 fused.
2nd surgery to reopen incision 10" to diagnose infection, 5/18/10
Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI - Dr. Harry Herkowitz
Two years post-op and in excellent health and mobility

retired Mom
08-29-2012, 11:02 AM
I am glad to read this post. I did not got to the one about negative surgery outcomes. I didn't think I could handle that.

09-09-2012, 03:08 PM
Folks, please, let's keep this thread as focused as possible. Please only post if you want to comment on the outcome of your own surgery.


07-20-2013, 06:17 AM
I had spinal fusion surgery (A/P) in May 2010 and am still very glad I had the surgery. Dr Tim Yoon at Emory in Atlanta, GA performed my sugery and I was 63 years old at the time. I still experience some numbness across my lower back, but the numbness is nothing when compared to the pain I was experiencing before my surgery. I do Pilates 3 days a week and am totally amazed at what I am able to do. I can also walk for extended periods now without pain. Overall, the surgery has been very positive for me. :)

08-05-2013, 03:53 PM
Hi everyone,

My name is Christyne; I had my first surgery done at age 16 after "wearing" the Milwaukee brace for 2 years. Dr. Stephen Koop at Shriners Hospital in Minneapolis/St. Paul did my surgery. I have 2 curves but at the time he only needed to operate on my thoracic curve. He did a bone graft at the bottom of my neck area and then fused T2-T6. I was in the hospital for a total of 1 week, no physical therapy when I got home and was good to go after everything was said and done.

Fast Forward 21 years and my lower back is now killing me to the point where it seems like it "catches" and will take my breath away. So I research and research and research some more until I'm satisfied I found a knowledgeable surgeon/doctor who specializes in scoliosis both degenerative and adult (I fit both categories). I started seeing Dr. Farhadi at Ohio State University in November of 2012. By May 9th 2013, I had surgery on my lumbar curve which had progressed approximately 20 degrees over the last 20 years. I pretty much saw the handwriting on the wall; I know my insurance and what they will cover and won't cover, etc., we have an 11 year old son and I damn sure did not want to be in a wheel chair at his graduation, and the list went on. Oh and let's throw in the fact that I never was able to have kids and so we adopted. So the whole self-esteem on the outside issue was a big thing for me. I figured surgery was the best choice.

May 9th was surgery where he fused T11-S1 after cutting the bottom portion of my Harrington Rods so the titanium ones wouldn't touch them and produce a current. Yeah, that sounded fun. Anyway, after I left the hospital I spent 10 days at a different hospital, Holzer Hospital in Gallipolis Ohio then came home.

Sooo...here I am. Oh and I'm having another surgery on September 5 to correct a problem I developed. I ended up being in the hospital from May 4 until May 23 when I was transferred to Rehab. Of that time, I spent a total of 8 hours in a "normal" room. The rest of the time I was in ICU. The first problem was a blood clot in the left lung, then I proceeded to develop pneumonia, then after that I still wasn't taking in enough oxygen and kept trying to pull the tubes out of my nose and then the mask off my face and had to be intubated and on a respirator for a few days. Thank God I only remember bits and pieces of the first 2 weeks. I became more coherent and "normal" from the time they took the respirator out from the time I was discharged.

Anyway, during that time in bed, and even with rehab and ongoing PT, I have developed a hunched position. Well, since I'm hunched over and fused from T11-S1, the top of my new rods are straight but I'm not; hence, I have a lump on my back which is metal and if something touches it, I go into orbit. I also bend my knees and now my hamstrings are as tight as "you know what" and can't stretch them out for nothin'. I walk and stand hunched over like a little old lady. My shoulders are now scrunched forward. I'm an embarrassment to myself and my family.

Anyway, yes I love my surgery and am very happy I had it done and the doctor who did it but I can't stand the way I look. Hoping for results on September 5 :)


11-24-2013, 07:16 AM
I am now 8 months post-op and thought about posting here months ago, but somehow didn't think that I could continue to be so happy with my surgery. But, I am! I was diagnosed at age 65 with scoliosis, and was I surprised at how far my spine had collapsed! The radiologist showed me my xray and said, "You didn't know?"

I was fortunate to have 2 awesome opinions for surgery, but my recovery resources were better for surgeon #2, Dr. Serena Hu at UCSF in the Bay Area where my son and family reside [he and his wife are Family Nurse Practitioners]. Dr. Hu was a miracle worker! I had 2 surgeries, first one 5 hours [ALIF, XLIF] and second one 10 hours [PSF]. I have bilateral screws in my lumbar and lower thoracic area, but "hooks" in my upper thoracic area as the thoracic vertebrae bones were osteoporotic and the screws would not grip there. [Interestingly, my Bone Mineral Density study was excellent and did not show any osteoporosis]. I am proud of my scar which covers my entire spine, and as my son's friend said, "Cool! Your buttcrack goes all the way to your neck!" I stayed at UCSF for 10 days and had great pain relief and great drugs so that I do not remember when I was in pain postop. I went to a rehab hospital for 7 days which was a good choice, but had it's challenges.

Before: Limited endurance, pain meds and PT didn't help much; Steroid shots helped some; Rhizotomy thoracic and lumbar provided 4-6 months of relief only
R sciatic pain from stenotic Right L4: had to stop and sit down every 1/2 block.
Thoracic pain from 90 degree kyphosis that limited work to about 30 minutes, then I had to lay down with ice pack for 30 minutes.
Lumbar pain: needed to stop frequently and sit.
L lateral thigh: Meralgia Paresthetica, unsure how this is related or ?random

After: At 8 months:
Some aches, "electric shock pains", buzzing sensation but I would say all minor (now, at 1 year , those sensations are pretty much gone!)
L buttocks pain, unknown reason: lift in R shoe helps as pelvis is slightly lower on R [will have SI joint injection] now, at one year, pain is only occasional
R leg has limited motion and strength.....at one year, I have learned to live with the weakness. I have difficulty putting on socks, but that isn't the end of the world, is it?
Cervical pain related to facet problems and disc degeneration [will have rhizotomy]
Incisional hernia at ALIF site....had this repaired at one year postop!

Surgery has given me a new life and options for retirement. I do medical work in International Health and this surgery has hopefully open possibilities for further medical projects. Prior to surgery, I envisioned myself degenerating to a slumped over kyphotic old woman on opiates. I believe that without surgery, I would be headed there.

At 8 months, I am in PT and hoping to gain better strength in my R leg. I still use the reacher for bowel movement hygiene as I am probably cursed genetically with a long torso and short arms. I will have surgery for my ALIF hernia [entire incision of 8" "plus" opened] at the 1 year point. Full recovery, I am realizing will probably take 2 years.

For older person with degenerative scoliosis, surgery has increased risks, but for me, I am "Happy that I had surgery!".

Susan Green Cooksey, alias susancook

Aug 2018: now 5+ years out from original surgery. In spite of all of the complications that I have had since surgery : incisional hernia, spinal cord injury from pedicle screw pulling out at T4,5 and "indenting" my spinal cord (now partial paraplegic using crutches and wheelchair), cauda equina injury, pulmonary emboli, spinal hardware infection, 4 revisions from broken rods. And you ask: this woman must be nuts if she is happy about having surgery! Yes, I am still happy. My quality of life was so poor before my 1st surgery. I advise people never to have surgery until you have exhausted all non-surgical options.

Below are my pre and post xrays, lateral and front view.


02-26-2014, 07:04 AM
It's almost a dozen years since my surgery so thought I'd add my 2 cents.

Surgery had to be done on two different days because my doctor said I was losing too much blood. Two days after completion, I was playing on my laptop and sending everyone a surgery update. I was already bugging my doctor, "When can I go home?"

Then tragedy struck. Just days later I was running a high fever, delirious from the medicines they were giving and an all around mess. I contracted a nasty staph infection, MRSA. I had to undergo three additional surgeries to clean out the infected area (the top of the rods). I ended up staying in the hospital nearly two months, much longer than the expected two weeks promised before surgery. I also had to have 20+ hyperbaric oxygen treatments and nearly three months-worth of antibiotic infusion at home.

All that nastiness is gone now. I no longer have horrendous lower back pain. Rarely do I ever experience any lower back pain. There is some pain between my shoulders where there are no rods to support me.

I've had to make concessions because I can no longer bend. Slouching is uncomfortable, so that's out. Sitting up straight is much more comfortable anyway. Lying down is comfortable too although I've had to relearn to how to get up easily (no bending, remember). I can do more physical stuff without tiring and suffering with back pain, so that's a real plus. I still have lots of numbness that I hardly ever notice these days unless someone touches me on a numb spot, which feels very strange, even now.

I've had asthma all my life but since surgery it's much, much improved, practically non-existent.

So, yes, I'd say I'm HAPPY I had the surgery - although I would have preferred not to have had MRSA as an added bonus. That was AWFUL.

Eddie Sand
06-09-2019, 11:52 AM
Date of surgery: January 7, 1960
Age at the time: 10 years, 3 months
Hospital: Geisinger MC, Danville, PA
Surgeons: Dr. Leonard Bush, Dr. George Jonas
Dr. Bush was to rise to the top levels of GMC management, died respected by all in 1977: one wing of the hospital is named in his honor
Dr. Jonas was a resident at the time; I have been unable to learn anything about his later life
Levels fused:5 thoracic and 1 lumbar vertebrae
Curve pre-op: unknown
Curve post-op: unknown
Problems experienced pre-op: None, but parents noticed a protruding shoulder blade, Dr. Bush had previously treated my younger brother's two clubbed feet
Treatment details: confined to head-to knees body cast; 7 hours of surgery on tenth day of hospitalization; cast replaced after eight weeks with one resembling a sleeveless undershirt, which was worn for another three months, replaced by a back brace
Recovery details: Balance improved sufficiently to learn to ride a bicycle within a few months; later mastered swimming as a college freshman; lap swimming and "urban hiking" developed into life sports
Current Status: Enjoyed 50+ years of robust health, but spine appears to be slowly "kinking" at ends of fused portion; diagnosed with what appears to be Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH), or possible myelopathy, at age 67 -- about three years ago, this is being closely monitored

"To question such good fortune, who am I?" (Tony Hatch)