View Full Version : Successful surgeries

03-30-2005, 05:25 PM
Hi everyone,

Was wandering if anyone new anyone that has had a good outcome with surgeries as an adult with no major pain. Also, when you have surgery, are you able to eventually drive again and live by yourself?


03-30-2005, 05:56 PM
Hi Becky...

My surgery was definitely successful. Although I had a long recovery, I was relatively pain free for about 8 years. Unfortunately, the first disc below my fusion is now shot, so I have lower back pain again. I was able to drive and live by myself within 5 or 6 weeks of surgery (at age 42).


03-30-2005, 10:55 PM
I had a surgery for Scheuermann's Kyphosis when I was 18 (I'm now 24), and I still live with constant pain everyday. I am able to drive, work, and attend college and live a relatively normal life for the most part.

03-31-2005, 12:49 AM
I'mm 55, had surgery 4 months ago, can now do most things though still pretty uncomfortable for the next little while. Definitely expect to be better than before the surgery after a year, or however long it takes - seems to vary a lot, but I notice improvements each month,


03-31-2005, 05:30 PM
I'm 34 and had my surgery last April. I had a long hospital stay (13 days). I had to have both anterior and posterior fusion, so it took longer for me to heal since they had to collapse a lung to gain access to my spine from the front.
I went to rehab for 3 days and then once I got home I was able to climb stairs, and get around my house. I walked every day and then after my first post-op visit (5 weeks post op) I started physical therapy.

I had quite a lot of pain before my surgery and now I have practically none. Everybody is different and I had a lower fusion (T-11-L5). My severe curve was lumbar. It seems most people have a higher fusion.

I started driving 9 weeks post-op, once I was off of the pain meds. It was fine though I was nervous and felt fragile, but it was so liberating to drive again.

I'm almost a year post-op and so far, so good...

03-31-2005, 11:10 PM
I Am 23, And I Just Had Surgery 6 Weeks Ago. I Was Fused From T3-l2. I Was Able To Drive After 4 Weeks, And I Am Doing Really Well Now. I Still Have A Lot Of Pain And Discomfort, But I Am No Longer Taking Any Heavy Pain Meds, And I Am Back To Work At My Office Job. I Can't Pick Up My 2 Year Old Daughter, Which Is Sad, But Hopefully That Will Come Soon.

04-12-2005, 12:04 PM
My surgery was Feb. 8, 05, I am 63, and am two months out. I spent from Feb 8 to 24 in the hospital. I had extensive surgery, Post and ant. There were three surgeons working on me. Recovery seems very long, and very uncomfortable. I was off pain meds after a month, but I have found that this was primarily due to the fact that I was numb on the the left side from the groin to somewhere under the left shoulder blade. At this time, I am taking 2 to four tylenol a day to make it more comfortable. I take 2 in the afternoon if I can't quiet my back by laying down and I take two at night with an ambien to sleep because the achy feeling makes it difficult to nod off. The end of the tunnel does not seem to be in sight. I am very frustrated, and still cry easily as I feel like a burden
to my husband who does EVERYTHING. Heres hoping the end of the third
month looks better. Kathleen

Sharon C
04-12-2005, 10:25 PM
Oh Dear...
I am looking at the big bad surgery in August. I'm just terrified.
I'm 53 and will have fusion from T6 to L5. Just a 44 degree curve, with a compensary curve, but the stenosis and spurs are making life difficult, and work is down to 32 very hard hours a week, just to keep my insurance. I have a very hard hump on the left side which is muscle trying to compensate. Doc says 2 surgeries, front and back, 4 days apart and 3 weeks of rehab hospital. I'm not sure I'm up to this, but can't go on as I am, with having to maintain employment. I suffer from social anxiety (many years) and some generalized anxiety, and take Lexipro for depression and Provigil for frequent fatigue; modern medicines which I've come to depend on to help keep me afloat. I have a good husband, thank God, and I hope I can share a happy ending with you all come fall.

Dayton, Nevada :confused:

04-13-2005, 04:30 AM
Kathleen and Sharon,

Just to let you know that although the surgery and recovery are hard, I have never for a moment regretted having the surgery. I remember what it was like 2 months post-op - I too was terribly uncomfortable, frustrated and low. However, I was in hospital a full month, had pneumonia and other unusual temporary problems, and was on heavy pain medication until I became allergic to it. One reason you might be feeling extra low (Kathleen) is if you came off opiates recently - often people experience a rebound depression, so it might be worth consulting your doctor if you feel this might be happening to you. The thing to remember is it does get better week by week and month by month, but at a rather wobbly rate. And all the older people I have communicated with - up to in their 70s - are really glad a year or so down the line that they went through the surgery, although it is a big deal and the recovery takes longer than anyone expects!


04-26-2005, 09:26 PM

You feel bad because your husband is doing everything, and I'm sure it shocked you when you realized how little you could actually do. Let me tell you: I am 33, am in the 5th week of recovery, and my husband does everything, too. He won't ALLOW me to do anything because that could jeopardize my healing, and I don't want to have another surgery again!

I was so shocked at how compromised and fragile my body had become, AS A WHOLE, after the surgery, including the fact that I couldn't walk a few blocks, I couldn't wipe my own rear end after I pooped, for that matter, I couldn't wash properly, either, and I couldn't insert a tampon because I couldn't reach that far! Guess who has been helping me with all this? My husband. Why? because he WANTS to. He loves me and would have it no other way. Your husband may just as well be doing the same for you.

Be joyful. Imagine if we lived in the 1800's. We'd all be the Hunchback of Notre Dame!


04-27-2005, 05:42 AM
I've been reading the posts about how the husbands are doing everything for the patients. I think it's a real blessing you have them. I am concerned, however, about how people who live alone handle things after the surgery. I'm 53, live alone, and will be fused from T-2 to the sacrum. Does anyone have suggestions about how to handle these things if you live alone? Thanks.

04-27-2005, 11:30 AM
Hi Jan...

I've actually known people who came home from the hospital without any help. I think its "doable," but I'd encourage you to find someone to stay with you for at least the first two weeks. After that, you'll hopefully be fine, especially if you have friends bringing meals to you.

You'll almost certainly be restricted from driving for the first few months, and from carrying anything heavier than about 10 lbs, which sort of restricts one from grocery shopping. So, you'll probably need to find someone to help you with your shopping chores for awhile.

Pets can be a problem. Changing litter for a cat, especilly if the litterbox sits on the floor, can be very difficult. And, if you have a dog, you won't be able to take it for a walk if it pulls on a leash. Also, picking up poop can be difficult.

Beyond that, you'll hopefully be able to handle things on your own. Many hospitals discharge their patients with some tools to help with everyday activities such as bathing.

Good luck!


04-27-2005, 06:58 PM
Thanks Linda! That information is very helpful.

Karen Ocker
04-28-2005, 02:21 PM
One of the best things I did was go to a rehab hosp for 2 weeks post -op. It's usually covered by most insurance. A few weeks stay can make you house-ready especially if you are alone. I was supplied with grabbers, raised toilet seats, a walker and a cane. I used these things for a short time during recovery. They taught me how to take care of myself and protect my back. Pain control was superb. I had the option of staying longer but we hired a day housekeeper through a local church because my husband was still working. She was able to take me out for walks and do heavy housework. If I were alone I would have stayed 4 weeks in rehab. If rehab is chosen, hosp discharge can come sooner and rehab is more cheerful than a hospital.

My surgery was successful but the recovery WAS long. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I am working and essentially pain free.

04-28-2005, 04:27 PM
I had a very successful surgery at the age of 20, fusing T2 to L1. I wasn't allowed to drive for nearly two months (dr said no driving for 6 weeks, but it was a Michigan winter time, so getting around outside without slipping and falling was a pretty daunting task), but was able to pretty much get around the house, shower, shave, etc... within a month of surgery completely on my own.

04-28-2005, 09:08 PM
Thanks everyone for the input! It was very helpful.

04-29-2005, 01:57 AM
Just to concur with Karen's advice - the recovery in middle age is much longer, certainly longer than I anticipated. I came home after 4 weeks in hospital just before Christmas, and even with my husband at home for 2 weeks we really struggled to manage. I was uncomfortable in every position and practical things felt overwhelming. It was difficult and slow getting medical advice over Christmas and the new year (UK here) and there was pain and nausea to deal with, as well as sleeplessness. This improved significantly when we were able to access medical advice and when we got a memory foam mattress pad. If you have the chance of rehab do take it for as long as possible - you will thank yourself when you eventually get home, and they will teach you ways of coping which we had to find by trial and error, or not at all.

Best wishes! It is tough but like Karen I am very glad I had the surgery.


05-01-2005, 03:21 AM

I certainly do love hearing these success stories. I have been trying to be one of them my entire life. After each surgery in my life I did recover fairly quickly, where I was able to drive and live basically a normal life. But as my scoliosis continued to progress severely things became quite more difficult. Today I am looking for a scoliosis revision Dr. I have been hearing wonderful things about Dr. boachie New York. I live in Las Vegas, but if I have any reasonable hope of having just once success story as good as I have read on these posts, I guess I will keep trying, and trying. If anyone could please look at my web site www.FrankieBush.net possibly you might be moving give me more suggestions a successful surgeon. Right now Dr. Boachie seems to be the best. Has anyone heard About Dr. Shelokov? Thanks, Frankie

05-02-2005, 10:18 AM
Sharon: Please see other surgeons. If you are 53 and they are planning
to fuse you only to L5, the chances are large that in 8 or so years, the
areas below your L5 will fall apart from the added stress and you will have to have further surgery. On the other hand, I put off surgery for years with
the help of a chiropracter whom I visited once a month and paid $30 a
visit. . he was able to stretch the muscles and keep me out of surgery for 15 to 20 years. Surgery is difficult, very expensive, and has some unpleasant possibilities such as infection ( I'v had that) and the possiblility of infection in the future in another part of the body which is immediately attracted to
the metal in our backs. You need to know ALL the negatives before
you make this surgery decision. If I were you, I would ask and try several
chiropracters before you jump into surgery. Your insurance will not
probably cover all your expenses, ( we have ended paying $7,000)
from our own pocket. (this included surgeons not on our insurance list
plus a brace not totally covered plus other things.)
Go into this slowly!!! Kathleens rose

05-03-2005, 03:31 AM
I do not think you will have a problem driving after surgery, unless there are other problems that I am unaware. I myself drove a car with a 133 curvature for many years. Even after my surgery, back then, "where you had to wear a body cast" I still drove my car across country from Columbus Georgia to Minneapolis, Minnesota. I'm quite sure you will be flying in every way. Best of luck to you, sincerely, Frankie

05-03-2005, 10:57 PM
My surgery is scheduled for January 19th. My concern is coming home directly after the surgery. I'm 56 and will have T3-L4 done. It will be a posterior only surgery. When I mention to the nurse I'd like to go to a rehab place for a week or so after the surgery, she seems to feel the insurance (blue cross/blue shield) won't cover it. I live alone (divorced) and my sister will be coming out here (I live in St. Louis and she lives in NJ) for a week but I'm still concerned. I'd rather she come out for a week when I'm two weeks post surgery. Any suggestions?


05-03-2005, 11:38 PM
Hi Lynn...

It depends on how long you'll be in the hospital. The first few days at home are probably the most difficult.


Karen Ocker
05-04-2005, 03:50 PM
The best way to find out whether you insurance covers rehab is to check your benefits book. The policies vary so much and nurses are not experts in these matters. You can also contact the people who do discharge planning in the hospital where your surgery is scheduled with your insurance info. This way everything can be set up in advance. I personally can not imagine it not being covered. It is much cheaper than the general hosp and it would allow you to be discharged sooner.
Let us know.

05-04-2005, 10:13 PM
Thanks Linda and Karen,

I think the plan is for a week's hospital stay. This is all sort of general because I see Dr. Bridwell about two months before the surgery and that's not scheduled until January 19th. I personally can't see going directly from the hospital to home, but i think that's the way they generally do it. I'm not the only one who's in this situation and I have great faith in Barnes Hospital.


05-06-2005, 06:15 PM
Hi Becky,
Just to let you know, I had my first back surgery in 1987 in St. Louis. I didn't have scoliosis, but I was born with spina bifida occutla. They discovered a tumor in my spinal cord. As I grew it grew. I had lumbar decompression and fusion from T10-L2. I had harrington rods and pedicle screws installed. I have gone on to lead a normal life. I have done everthing to test out the back, from skydiving to rapelling. Unfortunately, I was hurt on the job 2 years ago, and had to have another surgery on my back. I now have L3-S1 fused. I am 6 months post-op and doing great. The most important thing I can tell you is listen to your docs, and keep a good attitude. You will have good days and bad days. You just have to learn how to power through the bad days. Anything else I can do to help you let me know.

11-23-2008, 08:34 PM
I've been reading the posts about how the husbands are doing everything for the patients. I think it's a real blessing you have them. I am concerned, however, about how people who live alone handle things after the surgery. I'm 53, live alone, and will be fused from T-2 to the sacrum. Does anyone have suggestions about how to handle these things if you live alone? Thanks.
I'm 7 months post surgery, and mine was a big one too, top to bottom like yours. I live alone, my wonderful husband died 2 years ago. After surgery I did not come home right away. Stayed in rehab for almost 3 weeks, then 2 weeks at my brother's house, where he and his wife took good care of me. Even had a home nursing service come in (thanks to good insurance!) to evaluate and help me shower, but it was hardly needed. One advised you can do almost anything, just go slow, good advice! My doc was very worried about slips and falls for the first months.
When I came home, I was pretty much not using the cane anymore, felt alert, stable and able to shower on my own. I no longer have the tampon problem, but pads could be used for a bit, till you have more hip flexibility.
I clean up after my little dog with a long-handled pooper-scooper. I use one to pick up garden stuff too. (I have had to modify my gardening alot, I'm getting into bonsai which you can do at a table!) I have several long-handled picker-upper devices around the house, use them alot. Also have cats, and I worried about that too, but just pull a chair over and sit down to scoop. Get long handled scoopers. Friends lugged home groceries and litter for a month or so. Now I can do for myself, though I keep packages light. ASK FOR HELP! Neighbors are wonderful, and I swear it makes a guy (not to be sexist here...) feel good to be asked to help lift or carry something. I went back to work and driving 3 months post. Still having some pain issues, still taking meds. Looking forward to retirement as soon as I can, because I do not have the stamina I used too, but I stand up straight and I'm no longer the incredible shrinking woman. Good luck, you can do it!

11-25-2008, 10:34 PM
Hi everyone,

Was wandering if anyone new anyone that has had a good outcome with surgeries as an adult with no major pain. Also, when you have surgery, are you able to eventually drive again and live by yourself?

I realize this is an old thread someone resurrected, but I don't think people can read enough positive experiences.

The outcome from my surgery was phenomenal, and I haven't regretted it for a moment (even during early recovery). I won't tell you I had absolutely NO post-op pain, but it really wasn't that bad (especially as I increased my time walking daily) - and as soon as I woke up from surgery, I immediately knew my original pain was GONE.

As far as driving, I was released - even for Houston freeways - 3 weeks after surgery. I probably *didn't* drive for another 2 weeks or so because I was walking everywhere, training for a 5K at 33 days post op.

I lived alone before surgery. A friend picked me up from the hospital on the morning of Day 6 post-op, and dropped me at my house to begin my solo recovery.

My neighbors watched my high energy dog, did med runs until I could walk the 20 or so blocks to CVS, and were great about checking to see if I needed anything when they went out. Even in the absence of neighbors, a motivated person could arrange to have these kinds of things handled.

I spent a LOT of time (pre-op) reviewing what I might need and preparing accordingly. I arranged frequently used items at optimal levels, cooked/froze ahead, made out checks for bills and placed them in stamped, addressed envelopes, executed my DNR/Medical Power of Atty paperwork (and just generally tidied my personal affairs), secured a handicapped placard (just in case), etc., etc., ETC. My pre-op to-do list was ~insane~ - LOL.

I had friends who'd drop by (one awesome woman from here actually showed up with a much appreciated load of fresh groceries not long after I got home from the hospital ;-), but I neither wanted - or needed - anyone to stay with me as a caregiver of any sort.

Of course, like everything else, this can vary from person to person. In retrospect, if anything, I was OVER prepared - but was so determined to do keep my independence, I left nothing to chance.

It is, however, certainly possible to manage alone ... even immediately after surgery.