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Sdm52980
06-06-2012, 03:17 PM
Hi! I have just been referred for surgery and I am waiting to get a 2nd opinion. I have had scoliosis since I was 15, but recently have had some progression. (32yrs now) I have a thoracolumbar curve and have always been a little squished in the middle. I have to work very very hard to maintain a flat stomach. I work out daily with a lot of cadio, muscle strength training and eating healthy. I have read some posts on here that frighten me. Some people have said that their belly protrudes even more after the surgery. Not sure why, but maybe the lordosis? I am terrified of this surgery for many reasons and this is one of them. I guess I always assumed if my torso was elongated my stomach would end up flatter. I am just curious of anyone's experience with this. The doctor said I will have rods and screws and be fused from T3 to L3. I want to be straight and pain free, but I am wondering what the side effects are? Also, my doctor said I will be back to normal in 6 weeks and can continue my normal life. He uses a robot to do the surgery. Thank you very much for reading!!!
Sara

Confusedmom
06-06-2012, 05:26 PM
Hi there,
What is your degree of curvature, and who is your surgeon? I'm a little troubled by two things you said. One, I don't think you can count on being back to normal at 6 weeks post-op. It's possible, but that sounds more typical for teenagers, than adults. I am 12 weeks post-op and not back to normal. Two, I have not heard of a robot doing this surgery. Perhaps you mean he will assistance from various machines? I know there is one that monitors for nerve damage. I would recommend getting a second opinion from a well-respected doctor before you proceed.

Oh, yes, my stomach does protrude more than pre-op. However, I think this is a temporary condition caused by weak abdominal muscles, constipation and greater lordosis. I am hoping it will go away in six months to a year, when I can do more to strengthen my abs. Good luck!

Sdm52980
06-06-2012, 10:12 PM
Hi! Thank you for your response. I am seeing a surgeon named Richard Francis. My curve was 37 degrees, but according to my last X-ray, has progressed to 40.46. The surgery Dr. Francis does uses a technique called Mazor robotics. It creates a pre operative blueprint of The surgery. This helps with accuracy which leads to Shorter recovery and length of stay. I am actually getting a second opinion the end of July. I just want to be sure this is what I need. Did you have normal lordosis before surgery? Thanks again!
Sara

Jenna.KB
06-07-2012, 03:58 AM
Hi! Thank you for your response. I am seeing a surgeon named Richard Francis. My curve was 37 degrees, but according to my last X-ray, has progressed to 40.46. The surgery Dr. Francis does uses a technique called Mazor robotics. It creates a pre operative blueprint of The surgery. This helps with accuracy which leads to Shorter recovery and length of stay. I am actually getting a second opinion the end of July. I just want to be sure this is what I need. Did you have normal lordosis before surgery? Thanks again!
Sara

Hi Sara

Welcome to the forum. I'm currently waiting for further scoliosis surgery but have shrunk in height by 2 inches in 12 mths. My surgeon thinks with my curves I will get approx 3-4 inches back in height which would be fabulous. I'm 27 and have always been small but conscious of my stomach because my torso is squashed down. I've seen some amazing pictures on this forum that seem to show the torso lengthening, the curve reduce considerably and the stomach stretched out. In particular a lady called Doreen who had surgery a few months ago (think she's 44) lost approx 12 pounds in weight after surgery and her before and after pictures look great, you can definately see her stomach has been stretched out and flattened. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Re surgery I think a second opinion is always a good idea.

Good Luck

Jenna

debbei
06-07-2012, 06:47 AM
I was also fused T3 to L3, anterior only. My stomach didn't stick out any more after surgery, (that's after all the surgical swelling goes down, which can take a few months.)

I was FAR from 'back to normal' in 6 months; that really does sound like he's pushing his estimate. I did feel much better at 6 weeks, but I was still on narcotics and still very 'tender.' I wouldn't say I was back to normal, honestly, for 18 months. I was 46 at time of my surgery.

Sdm52980
06-07-2012, 05:04 PM
Thank you so much for all the responses! The thing I find strange about my situation is that my curve has been stable since I was 16. It has all of a sudden progressed 3 degrees. My doctor said it is a progressive curve. Has this happened to anyone else?
Sara

Doreen1
06-07-2012, 05:50 PM
Thank you so much for all the responses! The thing I find strange about my situation is that my curve has been stable since I was 16. It has all of a sudden progressed 3 degrees. My doctor said it is a progressive curve. Has this happened to anyone else?
Sara

Hi Sara,

Welcome to the group! There is an average "margin of error" when measuring curves of +/- 5 degrees. Within a two month timeframe last year, my spine was measured differently by three different doctors:
Non-surgical orthopedic doc: T56, L50
Atlanta surgeon: T72, L59
Dr. Lenke: T70, L68

I asked the Atlanta surgeon why the big discrepancy between her measurements compared to the ortho doc, her response, "... she wasn't measuring for surgery..."

Feel free to take a peak at my pre/post op tummy pix on my April 25 entry of my blog. Because my spine was collapsing at an aggressive rate (6 degrees per year over 5 year period. 5 years ago my curves measured at 40*), my abdomen was being pushed out. For years I didn't understand why my tummy looked like I was getting fat, despite my weight not increasing, because I worked out for years. Once I learned how bad my curves had progressed, it was crystal clear what the issue was and that I needed to do something asap.

Keep us posted on your journey.

Warmly,
Doreen

walkingmom
06-07-2012, 06:44 PM
Hi Sara,
Welcome to the forum! For most of us older patients, we end up having the spinal fusion surgery because of progressive curves. When I was in my mid 20's, my curve was 28 degrees and then was 35 degrees seven yrs prior to my surgery. Then for whatever reason increased to 60 degrees.

As for as recocery time, i would be skeptical about a 6 wk time frame of being back to normal. My son who had his surgery at 16 was out of school for two months and was playing tennis at 3 mos post-op, but that is not the norm for adults. Granted, I am much older than you but was still in great shape prior to surgery. Now at 1 yr post-op, I am beginning to feel much better. There is still stiffness and other aches but I can live with this new normal.

Best of luck to you as you make your decision.
Donna

golfnut
06-07-2012, 09:08 PM
Welcome to the forum. I think it is a good idea that you are getting a second opinion. At first, my stomach was not as flat as before surgery when I had pretty decent ab muscles. With a lengthened torso and getting ab muscles back with exercises, I feel that I look much better than before surgery.

Jenna.KB
06-08-2012, 06:01 AM
Thank you so much for all the responses! The thing I find strange about my situation is that my curve has been stable since I was 16. It has all of a sudden progressed 3 degrees. My doctor said it is a progressive curve. Has this happened to anyone else?
Sara

Hi Sara.

After my spinal surgery at 13yrs my spine was stable year on year so I was discharged as an out patient at 21yrs. I began getting different and more severe pain in the summer of 2010 and noticed my right rib cage was feeling different so went back to my specialists.
I don't know when my spine started moving again but my top curve has gone from approx 20-30 degrees to 104 degrees and the pull of this is now making my lower curve increase even though I have a harrington rod at the bottom.

Jenna x

king14
06-08-2012, 11:44 AM
Hi,
I have some thoughts but I my surgery isn't scheduled until September... so i don't have first hand experience.
First Stomach - I think after the swelling goes down your stomach should get flatter. You should go in on both sides of your waistline! that's one thing i'm excited about. I, like you, have done a lot to keep my physical body in as best shape as we scoli's can and keep as fit as possible. From all the research that i've done there are beautiful after pictures!
second - the robot, my surgeon does that as well. Some use it some do not, I think it's personal preference.
3rd- recovery - my surgeon said it like this: "you're in great shape, you will have an easier recovery than most, but still you are going through a major surgery. First 6 weeks suck, second 6 weeks you head to PT and that will feel amazing, after that 3month mark, depending on how your body reacts to the surgery you will start to do things easier, and things will start to feel more "normal" "
4th- SECOND opinions are a must. It also put me more at ease with my decision. NOT that all the surgeons wanted to do the same thing, but it gave me a more clear decision as who to pick
5th- progression - I was measured differently as well. All the surgeons were basically the same give or take 5 degrees and my chiro measured me at 20 degrees less. But I dont' think it matters, what matters is that i was getting worse, I lost 2 inches in height, so my spine was obviously collapsing, and I know surgery is the right answer. Good luck, I love this forum there are so many wonderful helpful people here! WELCOME!

Confusedmom
06-08-2012, 04:19 PM
Sara,

Three degrees is within the margin of error for xray measurement. You can't really say you've progressed until a change approaching more like 10 degrees has been documented by the same surgeon, measuring the same way. You could measure 3 degrees different between the morning and the afternoon.

Evelyn

mbeckett
07-12-2012, 10:53 PM
I was diagnosed with a double curve when I was 13 years old. I never had any problems nor did I have pain. I had three children by natural childbirth and all had been well until about 10 years ago at which time I started experiencing pain. I've been on pain meds, celebrex, had injections, did yoga, physical therapy and finally just now at 56 years old had 2-stage spinal surgery to stop the progression. Unfortunately I didn't have any good x-rays or reports over the years that all was well but it was obvious that over the past 10 years things have progressed to the point that I had to make a decision. So, unfortunately one can go years without any problems and then all of a sudden things start to change. My advice would be to get good "scoli" x-rays (not just regular x-rays) every year by a good competent SRS surgeon. Have him/her measure the curve/s and keep your own records so that if the time should come that you need to make a decision, you'll have adequate information. Also, these days you can ask for a copy of the x-rays on CD which would also be a good idea. You never know when things in the doctor's office will get misplaced so this way you'll always have your own records. It's very important to keep up with your own care!!

Marjorie