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1998golfer
07-15-2016, 02:58 PM
Hey everyone,
I made an account over the weekend hoping to post before my surgery, but it wouldn't let me post.

Anyways, I can now, and wanted to share my story.
I'm 18 years old, male, found out I had scoliosis when I was 17, and through a series of appointments and referrals, was lucky enough to find an opening for surgery on July 11th at a local hospital.
Details:
Last July, 40° curve from initial x-ray
March, 47° curve, new x-ray from the surgeon
At the appointment in March, we talked to the surgeon about surgery and decided it would be best to do it before it got worse as the years go by, and earlier that day he had someone else cancel their surgery for July 11th, so we immediately scheduled it for then.
I got my blood work done July 8th just for type/cross.
Clear liquids Saturday, nothing Sunday, was at the hospital around 5:20am on Monday to check in, and they wheeled me to the operating room right on time at about 7:30am. I think I woke up around 12:30-1pm, my surgeon and his team did an incredible job.
I stayed in the PICU for the duration of my visit, came home yesterday in the early afternoon.
I've done a lot of walking, sitting up/down, etc since the surgery, and apparently they were impressed by my progress and pain tolerance at the hospital, and even considered letting me go home Wednesday.

Soo... Scoli details... They fused T4-L1 with 2 rods, 1 titanium and 1 cobalt-chrome, and 17 titanium screws. I don't know the new curve amount but it looks almost perfectly straight, considering it was 47° 3 months before surgery.
So, I highly recommend my surgeon Dr. Brian Shaw in Colorado, and I'll attach the xrays from before surgery (March) and after surgery on Monday on this post.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to ensure quick and safe recovery... I'm very interested, as well as anything else I might want to know for efficient pain management.

Before:
https://imgur.com/yV35CPA

After:
http://i.imgur.com/fOs3dED.jpg

I look forward to hearing from all of you!
-Golfer

golfnut
07-15-2016, 08:23 PM
Welcome to the forum. I had surgery 5 years ago and just peek in on the forum once in awhile. I am curious if you are a golfer or if that is possibly your last name. I wasn't allowed to return to golf for a year, but surprisingly still play fairly well with a 10 handicap. I recommend following your surgeon's directions as to dos and don'ts. The most important thing is for your spine to fuse so you need to avoid twisting, bending, lifting for along time. Good luck with a smooth recovery.

1998golfer
07-15-2016, 10:17 PM
Welcome to the forum. I had surgery 5 years ago and just peek in on the forum once in awhile. I am curious if you are a golfer or if that is possibly your last name. I wasn't allowed to return to golf for a year, but surprisingly still play fairly well with a 10 handicap. I recommend following your surgeon's directions as to dos and don'ts. The most important thing is for your spine to fuse so you need to avoid twisting, bending, lifting for along time. Good luck with a smooth recovery.

Thanks! And I used to golf, but haven't in years anyways. I'm more of a biking guy now.
The dates and limits my surgeon gave me seem a lot less strict than what I've been reading, he said I'd probably be able to ride my bike in 3-4 weeks, drive in 3-4 weeks, and have a 20lb weight limit.
I've been doing a lot of exercise since I've been home, constantly either walking around, going up and down stairs, or just plain pacing.
I've got a follow up appointment August 2nd and I hope that goes well, I noticed my shoulders aren't level anymore and I wondered if that might go away or if it's permanent. Before surgery my shoulders were level and you couldn't tell I had scoliosis by looking at me.

jackieg412
07-15-2016, 11:08 PM
You are very young and recovery may be easier. There are several posts on shoulder balance but you are just out of the hospital and not even a week. Just walk and let things settle. Follow the guidelines of your doctor. That seems like a lot of weight so easily. Healing takes time.

titaniumed
07-16-2016, 07:21 AM
Welcome and congratulations!

We like having younger posters around here.....

Try to take it easy for at least another day, (smiley face) I shouldn’t say that around here, but us older folks take a long time to heal, and babies heal in minutes.

You realize that you have to fuse.....try not to disturb or create any extra forces, no bending, lifting, twisting, or falling for awhile. The books will say a year to fuse, but its hard to say when this happens. You could fuse in 2 months to a certain degree, like a cut healing, but disturb that cut and it bleeds.

Take it easy and keep posting.

Ed

1998golfer
07-16-2016, 11:08 AM
Yeah, I'm not doing any bending or twisting, using my knees a lot to bend down to grab things off the floor, etc.
My parents seem to think I'll be okay to go to disney world over spring break, but if they go I might opt to stay home or try to convince my girlfriend's parents to let me go on a cruise with her instead.

My main concern right now is pain management, I only had a prescription for 25 percocet and I've been taking 2 every 6 hours and I can't move from the pain when it's time to take more or I forget to overnight (like last night I was supposed to take some at around 5am, but I woke up at 6:30 and that was quite painful. I'm now alternating ibuprofen and percocet every 3 hours, but I'm worried what will happen when my prescription runs out. Should most of my pain be gone by then, or can I call my surgeon and ask him for another prescription?

Thanks everyone.

mabeckoff
07-16-2016, 02:45 PM
You should be working with pain management. Most surgeons do not write scripts for narcotics after six weeks. A good management Doctor will make sure that your pain is under control. That is so important to get and keep your pain under control.

Being so young I would think that by spring break you should be fine to go on vacation.


Take it from someone who knows pain

Melissa

Jjohnsonphd
07-16-2016, 05:36 PM
Welcome to the other side of straight and balanced! When I was 18, my curve was 47 degrees and the doctor told me to go enjoy my life and not worry. Very conservative in those days. I finally had to decide on surgery in my 40's because my curve progressed so much. You made the right decision and your recovery sounds like a breeze. It has been harder on me by a landslide. I would call your surgeon if you need more pain meds. You will need to pick up the prescription and hand deliver it to the pharmacy, they can't call in narcotics. Also, my surgeon said no ibruprofen or NSAIDs for 6 months after as they impede the fusion process. You can use Tylenol, which for me doesn't do much! Keep us posted!
Jana

1998golfer
07-16-2016, 10:52 PM
You should be working with pain management. Most surgeons do not write scripts for narcotics after six weeks. A good management Doctor will make sure that your pain is under control. That is so important to get and keep your pain under control.

Being so young I would think that by spring break you should be fine to go on vacation.


Take it from someone who knows pain

Melissa

I only have enough narcotics to last me until Monday at 2 in the morning... We'll call him tomorrow and I guess leave a message and ask for more. A night ago I thought I'd be okay if I just took one of the percocet pills because I was going to sleep, and I woke up at 2 in the morning, unable to move and pretty much crying in pain, and I couldn't take more for another 2 hours.
How long should I expect to have to be on them? I'm assuming the pain won't be gone by tomorrow night, but I could be wrong.

And about the ibuprofen, the nurse gave me some in the hospital even... I'll stop taking it for now, I really need to talk to my surgeon but it's the weekend.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Golfer

titaniumed
07-17-2016, 03:05 AM
I had a feeling you were going to run out of Percoset. I would make a phone call first thing Monday morning, your surgeon “might” want you to come in. I had my staples pulled around 10 days post, and I think they might have shot an x-ray....Be very descriptive when explaining your pain, it matters a lot to the doctors.

I don’t know if any changes have been made as far as prescription amounts after the death of Prince....in the future I would suspect that the amounts will be smaller.....I personally had no problems getting the amounts I needed, and after a few surgeries pretty much had to have the docs lighten up since I had an arsenal of meds. Percoset is Oxy with with Tylenol, and can do a good job until immunity builds up. It is not an easy thing managing pain with oral meds, between immunity, spacing times incorrectly, there are always going to be some pain spells. I was taking hot water soaks for pain at 106 degrees F. Hot water works quite well for bone and nerve pain. If you do this, be sure to drink plenty of water because you lose water when immersed in hot water and it needs to be replenished otherwise you will become dehydrated. This is why children shouldnt be in hot tubs, not because they pee in the pool. (smiley face) I also showered after the tub with an anti-bacterial soap over the scar. Weaning rates can be accomplished at 5 weeks or 20% per week.....this is supposed to be a comfortable weaning rate.

It is a good idea to keep notes on everything you do, med intake, diet, bm’s and walks. Keep the walks going because they transfer nutrients into healing zones via blood. Multiple short walks throughout the day, not a marathon. Drinking plenty of water and walking is important because it promotes peristalsis in the intestines, keeps the plumbing flowing. Try not to get constipated because that’s painful. Having a bottle of Magnesium Citrate around is a good idea is one does opoid’s, it can prevent an embarrassing trip to the emergency room for a manual digout. I know, sounds heavy. I consider Mag Citrate an insurance policy....

I would do the cruise..... (smile face)

Hang in there

Ed

Jjohnsonphd
07-17-2016, 02:19 PM
Hi Golfer,

I feel for you. I woke up a couple nights gripping the sheets and thinking I was going to need to go back to the hospital. It is scary. I also realized on a Saturday morning I was going to run out of my pain pills before Monday and I was petrified! I never will let that happen again. Fortunately, my surgeon was in town and my Dad went running over to get the script while I was blubbering at home. I swear I have never cried so much as I have the last month. I know this pain and the meds can make you very emotional.

Honestly, your not on super strong pain meds and your still fresh out. If you need better pain management, tell your doctor. They expect everyone to be different with what adequately covers the pain. I was on heavy duty meds when I got home at day 10 because it was all that kept my head above water. When my husband went to the pharmacy with my OxyContin ER script and Dilaudid every 3 hours script, right after I was discharged, the pharmacist refused to fill the Dilaudid unless he spoke on the phone to my surgeon!! This was on a Friday at 3pm and I knew my surgeon had taken visiting spinal surgeons from China out in a fishing boat!!! Talk about panic!! Anyway, we got through to him and all was ok.

So advice for those planning surgery, realize when you leave the hospital you will have no pain meds. Take your last dose as you leave and plan on someone going straight away to the pharmacy to get them filled. Also realize there could be a hiccup and try to make sure your surgeon is available if the pharmacist freaks out on how much you are taking!

I got off the Oxy at 2weeks cold turkey, no issues and I am down to one Dilaudid every 4 hours. I will take 2 if the pain gets really bad. This surgery is painful and it lingers. Keep it managed as best you can! Hot showers work great for me and I lay on ice packs off and on all day.

Jana

1998golfer
07-17-2016, 05:32 PM
Thanks everyone - we will call him in the morning and I'll hope I don't fall apart in the meantime. This morning was really painful even with the percocet, but this afternoon was better when I took ibuprofen as well.
I've been up and around the house quite a few times and took a field trip to Costco walked a circle around the store (for those of you who know, massive!!) and got some samples and a smoothie. Time to take a nap.

1998golfer
07-18-2016, 10:03 AM
They only gave me 15 pills and said they expect me to only take them at night and somehow survive on ibuprofen and ice during the day. What do I do???

jackieg412
07-18-2016, 11:38 AM
I don't think that ibuprofen is to be used yet. It interferes with the fusion process. All surgeons should be cautious of writing too much pain med scripts. Ed has mentioned several times the death of Prince and what can happen with pain meds. Yet you are in pain.
I would say go to a pain management doctor. They watch the patient closer then a surgeon has time to. Also either heat or ice. What makes you feel better. Change position and walk. And anything that calms you like soothing music,a funny movie,calling a friend.

green m&m
07-18-2016, 11:41 AM
Regarding ibuprofen, the hospital I had my fusion done, Hospital for Special Surgery which is ranked at #1 in orthpedics did not want me to take any ibuprofen immediately after fusion. I'd play on safe than sorry and not use any ibuprofen. I didn't use any for a year, and even now, nearly 2 years post op I rarely use it.


I didn't have any trouble getting full (as in max per month) amount of narcotic pain meds for three months post-op. Initially I left the hospital with 10 days worth. That was in 2014.

More recently, earlier this year I had another surgery (non orthopedic) and they were pretty stingy when I asked for more after I ran out. But I think that was the nurse that was filling for my main nurse/surgeon. Or it could be due to the new regulations that mainly affect primary care, but specialists are being careful as well.

I'd talk to your primary care doctor, or surgeon and ask for a pain referral. Do it before you are about to run out -- you don't want to keep playing this catch up game. Even if you don't need any more after 15 days, it's nice to have that extra on hand to keep your mind at ease.

One thing though -- My surgeon made a comment how he had facet joint injections and when he asked his doc for more pain meds after the initial script, he didn't appreciate his doc's office treating him like a drug-seeker. Sooo, he may have a more open approach to prescribing pain meds as patients ask vs. others. I'm really glad for that because there was no way I could have gone through recovery if I had gotten cut off after a month.

Jjohnsonphd
07-18-2016, 11:58 AM
Hi Golfer,

You just had the largest orthopedic surgery a human being can have! It is a massive undertaking for your body to heal and it is a given you will have a lot of pain. I would be totally pissed off if my doctor left me in a lurch. You are not drug seeking, you need pain medication after major surgery.

You could try again at his office and explain you are needing adequate pain control. I would also call the nurse out on the ibruprofen, in a polite way, that you are not allowed to take that after a spinal fusion. Many peopleswitch to a pain management doctor, if you have one in your area, that would work as well. Don't give up!

Jana

1998golfer
07-24-2016, 12:07 AM
From the new x-ray, can you estimate my new curve?
Also, I've been off of pain medicine for a few days, and feeling much better. I keep accidentally twisting, I hope I haven't harmed anything.
-Golfer

1998golfer
07-24-2016, 12:20 AM
And also.. I called my surgeon and asked him about the ibuprofen and he said that it's fine to take, and anyone recommending against it is 30 years outdated. He also gave me a lecture on addiction to prescription drugs, etc etc. Anyways, I'm pain free now and it's been almost 2 days since I've taken anything at all.

titaniumed
07-24-2016, 08:13 AM
He also gave me a lecture on addiction to prescription drugs, etc etc. Anyways, I'm pain free now and it's been almost 2 days since I've taken anything at all.
I had a feeling he wanted to see you. ...Well, this is really good news! and off everything at 11 days at age 18. I am going to try to remember that.

Throw your x-rays up, would love to see them.

Ed

LindaRacine
07-24-2016, 12:08 PM
I called my surgeon and asked him about the ibuprofen and he said that it's fine to take, and anyone recommending against it is 30 years outdated.

If you get a chance, would you ask your surgeon for a reference on this? I can't remember ever hearing that a surgeon gave approval for ibuprofen before the 3 to 6 month postop mark.

leahdragonfly
07-24-2016, 02:16 PM
Glad to hear how well you're doing! Remember to take it easy and not overdo things for a bit.

I'm guessing your curve at around 10 degrees or less. Looks beautiful!

1998golfer
07-24-2016, 07:51 PM
Titaniumed - X-rays are in the first post of this thread :)

LindaRacine - I got the impression that he was irritated at me for questioning him on it, because of stuff found online (I'm sure they get similar stuff a lot). He does only pediatric patients, I'm probably one of the oldest people he's ever done this on, might that have anything to do with it?

LindaRacine
07-24-2016, 09:09 PM
Titaniumed - X-rays are in the first post of this thread :)

LindaRacine - I got the impression that he was irritated at me for questioning him on it, because of stuff found online (I'm sure they get similar stuff a lot). He does only pediatric patients, I'm probably one of the oldest people he's ever done this on, might that have anything to do with it?

Hi...

Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory. Research has shown that anti-inflammatory medication inhibits fusion. I searched yesterday, when I saw your post, and couldn't find anything new on the subject. Kids do heal faster than adults, but as far as I know, they have the same restriction usually.

--Linda

mabeckoff
07-24-2016, 09:10 PM
And also.. I called my surgeon and asked him about the ibuprofen and he said that it's fine to take, and anyone recommending against it is 30 years outdated. He also gave me a lecture on addiction to prescription drugs, etc etc. Anyways, I'm pain free now and it's been almost 2 days since I've taken anything at all.


I cannot believe that my surgeon , who is in early 40's, is 30 years outdated regarding ibuprofen. He operates on both adults and children.

1998golfer
07-24-2016, 09:33 PM
I cannot believe that my surgeon , who is in early 40's, is 30 years outdated regarding ibuprofen. He operates on both adults and children.
I don't know. He's been doing this for 30 years, and only once had anyone with bad complications (and it was a kid with a 100° curve, bladder something trouble). When I heard it from him, I decided to trust him on it. Anyways, I'm off of them now so.. I'm guessing no harm done, at worst delayed the fusion by a bit.

titaniumed
07-25-2016, 02:03 AM
Titaniumed - X-rays are in the first post of this thread :)


That’s right..... Its such a good looking x-ray, I forgot. I am going to say the same thing as Gayle, 10 degrees or less.

11 days after surgery, age 18, off meds. I find this amazing.....

What kind of pain do you have now? Do you really need to take anything at all?

Do try to take things easy for a while....you don’t want to have any setbacks.

Ed

1998golfer
07-25-2016, 06:41 AM
That’s right..... Its such a good looking x-ray, I forgot. I am going to say the same thing as Gayle, 10 degrees or less.

11 days after surgery, age 18, off meds. I find this amazing.....

What kind of pain do you have now? Do you really need to take anything at all?

Do try to take things easy for a while....you don’t want to have any setbacks.

Ed

No pain... Had a little yesterday after I used my legs to push down the footrest thing on a recliner, but that's my fault and seems to have gone away already.
And awesome @ th under 10° :) I'll ask my surgeon at the follow up appt (I'm assuming they'll also take another x-ray then?), but that's not for another week or so

1998golfer
08-02-2016, 10:59 PM
I went in for my check up today, 22 days post, and he said everything looks good, cleared me to ride my bike, swim, and lift up to 20lbs. :) Had a good 45min bike ride, my back was sure sore after that.
He told me that in addition to scoliosis, I had kyphoscoliosis, my back was too straight and that he fixed that too.
However, my shoulders are very out of whack and my neck is now curved. He said to work on my posture and try to keep them level, and that he might have to extend the fusion up to straighten it out if it doesn't on it's own. He seemed baffled at why it's doing what it is.
Here's the before/after on the same type of xray, and the side view. I'm curious how bad the kyphoscoliosis was.

Before back: http://i.imgur.com/mdaDMmw.jpg
Today back: http://i.imgur.com/33VXUt3.jpg

Before side: http://i.imgur.com/MdpN4cC.jpg
Today side: http://i.imgur.com/VbRcwdY.jpg

Thanks for the help!

titaniumed
08-03-2016, 12:07 AM
He told me that in addition to scoliosis, I had kyphoscoliosis, my back was too straight and that he fixed that too.


I see that. In the before side view, your spine was very straight from around L1 going up into your thoracic.

Hard to say, your kyphosis element didn’t look terribly bad. I can show you a WHOLE lot worse as far as kyphosis goes.

The thing is that he had to stop it. Kyphosis is serious, and yes many kyphosis patients can suffer with neck issues.

I don’t know how one would classify your kyphosis.....possibly a “high” kyphosis? Lacking the typical “mid thoracic” round back that many have.

I don’t think I’ve seen any classification for kyphosis. Like a King or Lenke classification for scoliosis.

Next time you see your surgeon, ask him if your kyphosis was more serious than your scoliosis.

Ed

LindaRacine
08-03-2016, 09:12 PM
I'm surprised that he called it kyphosis. You were actually hypokyphotic. That is, you had too little kyphosis. It's relatively common in teens with thoracic curves. The postop sagittal films look really good.

I hope that you're successful in straightening out your cervical spine. It looks pretty uncomfortable.

--Linda

rjmacready
08-04-2016, 04:38 PM
Hey everyone,
I made an account over the weekend hoping to post before my surgery, but it wouldn't let me post.

Anyways, I can now, and wanted to share my story.
I'm 18 years old, male, found out I had scoliosis when I was 17, and through a series of appointments and referrals, was lucky enough to find an opening for surgery on July 11th at a local hospital.
Details:
Last July, 40° curve from initial x-ray
March, 47° curve, new x-ray from the surgeon
At the appointment in March, we talked to the surgeon about surgery and decided it would be best to do it before it got worse as the years go by, and earlier that day he had someone else cancel their surgery for July 11th, so we immediately scheduled it for then.
I got my blood work done July 8th just for type/cross.
Clear liquids Saturday, nothing Sunday, was at the hospital around 5:20am on Monday to check in, and they wheeled me to the operating room right on time at about 7:30am. I think I woke up around 12:30-1pm, my surgeon and his team did an incredible job.
I stayed in the PICU for the duration of my visit, came home yesterday in the early afternoon.
I've done a lot of walking, sitting up/down, etc since the surgery, and apparently they were impressed by my progress and pain tolerance at the hospital, and even considered letting me go home Wednesday.

Soo... Scoli details... They fused T4-L1 with 2 rods, 1 titanium and 1 cobalt-chrome, and 17 titanium screws. I don't know the new curve amount but it looks almost perfectly straight, considering it was 47° 3 months before surgery.
So, I highly recommend my surgeon Dr. Brian Shaw in Colorado, and I'll attach the xrays from before surgery (March) and after surgery on Monday on this post.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to ensure quick and safe recovery... I'm very interested, as well as anything else I might want to know for efficient pain management.

Before:
https://imgur.com/yV35CPA

After:
http://i.imgur.com/fOs3dED.jpg

I look forward to hearing from all of you!
-Golfer
Golfer- Just a few quickies. Have not had the surgery, but need it, longer job than yours ( mine will be from base of neck to posts screwed into the ilium. Huge job. Not that your's was small. 2 ?s: 1) Can you sleep on your back, i.e. do you feel the hardware? 2) How is your pain level? Manageable, or do you hurt, and if so, can you locate the area? Keep On Getting Better, RJM

mabeckoff
08-04-2016, 06:57 PM
Golfer- Just a few quickies. Have not had the surgery, but need it, longer job than yours ( mine will be from base of neck to posts screwed into the ilium. Huge job. Not that your's was small. 2 ?s: 1) Can you sleep on your back, i.e. do you feel the hardware? 2) How is your pain level? Manageable, or do you hurt, and if so, can you locate the area? Keep On Getting Better, RJM

I am fused from C2x -, sacrum if you have any questions
Melissa

1998golfer
08-04-2016, 07:23 PM
I'm surprised that he called it kyphosis. You were actually hypokyphotic. That is, you had too little kyphosis. It's relatively common in teens with thoracic curves. The postop sagittal films look really good.

I hope that you're successful in straightening out your cervical spine. It looks pretty uncomfortable.

--Linda

That makes sense, the paper he gave me said "kyphoscoliosis", he never said kyphosis.

And thanks, I'm not too confident it'll fix itself, it's a bit painful pushing my arm down to make my shoulders level... Would an extended fusion surgery be as hard as the first one? Hopefully he'd only need to go to T2 or T1, max, but that's just my guess

1998golfer
08-04-2016, 07:28 PM
Golfer- Just a few quickies. Have not had the surgery, but need it, longer job than yours ( mine will be from base of neck to posts screwed into the ilium. Huge job. Not that your's was small. 2 ?s: 1) Can you sleep on your back, i.e. do you feel the hardware? 2) How is your pain level? Manageable, or do you hurt, and if so, can you locate the area? Keep On Getting Better, RJM

I can't feel the hardware, I just feel the stiffness of that area of my back. It'll take some getting used to.
I tried yesterday to sleep on my stomach and it was quite painful.. Sleeping on my left side or my back is the most comfortable.
My pain level is very low, depending on what I'm doing. When laying down, sitting, or walking, it's zero to uncomfortable. But the last few days I've been driving and riding my bike, I'm pretty sore but not bad enough to take any pain meds. I haven't taken anything since July 22nd, 11 days post-op.

That's a big surgery, I wish you luck. Talk to some of the others here with longer fusions, they'll have better advice. And also how old are you, I'm only 18 and I'm pretty sure my relatively young age is making the recovery quicker.
Best wishes,
-Golfer

LindaRacine
08-04-2016, 10:12 PM
That makes sense, the paper he gave me said "kyphoscoliosis", he never said kyphosis.

And thanks, I'm not too confident it'll fix itself, it's a bit painful pushing my arm down to make my shoulders level... Would an extended fusion surgery be as hard as the first one? Hopefully he'd only need to go to T2 or T1, max, but that's just my guess

Kyphosis and scoliosis = kyphoscoliosis. So, scoliosis and kyphosis is saying the same thing as kyphoscoliosis. What I think you actually have is scoliosis and thoracic hypokyphosis.

It's hard to say whether an extension of your fusion would be an easier surgery than the original one. Typically it is, so your recovery could be easier. However, I think you'll find that having your cervical spine fused will be somewhat more bothersome in the long run, depending on how high they would need to go.

--Linda