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View Full Version : Thinking of surgery -- have some questions



aNdYc
01-05-2006, 02:45 AM
Hi all,

I am 21 years old and I have about 50 degree "C" curve towards the middle right of my back, and I am thinking to do a surgery in this coming summer.

I have couple quick questions regarding this big surgery. After the surgery where they put a titanium inside to straighten my back, will I get any back pain or scoliosus in the future?? Because I currently are not having any pain at all in my back. Will my back always be straight?? What is the side-effect for this type of surgery?? Would I need a cane to walk for couple weeks or some kinds of brace after surgery? What happened if I carry a CRT monitor like 3 wks after surgery? Where can I find pictures on how scars would look like because I am a swimmer and I am afraid people will afraid of my scar when they see it...

I already met with a surgeon in Los Angeles area, but I would really like some feedbacks from your personal experiences, also does anybody have any recommendation which surgeon they had in LA area that is awesome?

Thanks a bunch,

Andy

KRIS ATKINSON
01-05-2006, 05:45 AM
Who recommended surgery to you and why?

sweetiepie3
01-05-2006, 03:53 PM
You may get some back pain in the future. I had my surgery 2 1/2 yrs ago and I still have some bad days. But it does get better as time goes on.

Your spine will always be straight where they fuse it. You may want to find out from your doctor where the fusion will take place.

Side effects: the hardware could fail or your curve could still progress after surgery. There are other side effects you may want to research them or talk with your doctor.

Not sure about the CRT monitor

As for scars. You can look those up but some people scar better than others. Also it is just skin and there is nothing for people to be afraid of :)
Hope this helps a bit!!!
Ashley

SpineWhine
01-06-2006, 12:48 PM
I just had surgery for my C curve, and I feel great. Before the surgery I was very active, and was a competitive tennis player. I will be out of commission while I heal, but my Dr. said I should be able to return to my normal activity levels. Just for me personally, I am not going to let the hardware in my back prevent me from doing anything I would not normally do, life is too short! But, at least now with my surgery I know my back is healthier than it was before, and hopefully I prevented problems in the future, like major pain, and compression of my lungs and heart!

I actually talk a lot about my decision to get surgery, from the very beginning of learning it was an option for me until now, just a few weeks post-surgery on my blog, if that helps at all...

aNdYc
01-07-2006, 09:13 PM
does it usually have two rod or one rod?? anyone can show me pix of what scars usually look like for this type of surgery?? How long will it take for me to acutally do some push-ups or even sit-ups?

thanks

LindaRacine
01-07-2006, 10:31 PM
Those are all good questions to address with your surgeon.


does it usually have two rod or one rod??

It depends on the surgeon and patient.


anyone can show me pix of what scars usually look like for this type of surgery?

See this thread:
http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2940&highlight=scars


How long will it take for me to acutally do some push-ups or even sit-ups?

Depends on your age, the type of surgery you have, etc.

--Linda

eileen elmendor
01-08-2006, 09:34 PM
any,
my daughter had spinal surgery 3 years ago when she was 13. she was a competitive swimmer at the time, doing quite well! she had a thoracic 48 degree and about a 30 lumbar. she had a rod put in from t2 to l2. she did great after surgery and was wading in the pool at a month. she could swim at her own pace after about two and half months. she started back to practices at three and was in her first race at 7 months post op. she couldn't dive off blocks or do flip turns until a year after. her main strokes are backstroke and butterfly. it will take awhile for those muscles to get strong enough for you to swim great distances but it didn't sound like thaat was a problems. her scar at three years is barely noticable and even right afterwards she was fine with it as were everyone around her. you must remember though to stay out of the sun first at least a year so the scare doesn't get darker. i bought her suits with the zip up back and i know they have racing suits like that for men. you could also wear a surfer top if you swim outdoors. her back gets tight now, but between the chiropractor for muscle relaxing(no manipulation) and massages she gets by and is hoping to swim in college. (she is a junior in high school) if you asked her she would say it really wasn't that bad. now she also has the best posture in her class!!
good luck. if you need any other info. please feel free to ask.

MATJESNIC
01-09-2006, 09:18 PM
Eileen,
Thanks for sharing your daughter's story. It was very reassuring to read about your daughter going back to swimming after surgery. I don't know if my daughter will need surgery. But if she does, this story has been very helpful to my peace of mind.

Melissa

pat
01-10-2006, 09:35 AM
Eileen, Wow, your daugther's doing flip turns, she's got a fusion as same as my daughter's, (she's 1 year post-op), and she's quite timid about attempting a flip turn still. She was/is a competitive swimmer. Did you daughter just jump in and flip! Or slowly led up to it!!??? Thanks! p

aNdYc
02-01-2006, 11:39 PM
I am currently 21 years old and I really do not feel ANY pain right now on my back but all my doctors said that they recommend me to do surgery because I do have a severe 50ish degree curve on my spine, what should i do?? should i wait till i started to feel pain or do the surgery now?? because there are always risks for surgery.....

I talked to a chiropractor and he said he can guarantee me that if I go and maintain with him every two wks, my spine would not continue to bend and will avoid scolosis... is this true??

thanks,
Andy

marmyte
02-02-2006, 05:47 AM
a chiropractor claiming to prevent progression of a scoliosis curvature is like someone saying they can hold back the ocean. i'm sorry to have to break that to you but it's true. once you're skeletally mature (and therefore no longer a candidate for bracing) if a curve is going to progress, it will. the rule of thumb is that if when you stop growing, your curve is more than 40-50 degrees, it will probably progress at 1 or 2 degrees a year. now that doesn't sound like much but if you look at the worst case scenario (2 degree progression annually), your curve could hit 70 degrees by the time you're 31.

yes, being in pain is a deal-breaker for a lot of those deciding on whether or not to have surgery, but you also have to consider progression and potential correction you can achieve. the cosmetic results, and how much spinal balance is achieved tends to vary greatly according to age, and young people do better because they are generally a lot more flexible. surgeons wouldn't frequently operate on kids in their early teens if it wasn't worthwhile. the other issue is the recovery period - it's significantly less in a younger person. i had surgery on july 16th 2005 and by christmas i felt like a totally normal person again. i'd been back at work for 6 weeks and started driving again at the beginning of september.

yes it's a big decision but i'd say you still have a couple of months to think about it. at still only 21, i'd also guess it'd cause minimal disruption to your life now: in ten or fifteen years you could have kids or a career and a mortgage and bills to pay and not be able to afford to take the time out to recover.

i've probably given you a lot to think about and not really answered your question but unfortunately none of us here can make the choice for you, we can just tell you what it's like

aNdYc
02-05-2006, 05:37 PM
thanks Marmyte for your answers..

i have two questions:

I met this guy that had similar surgery and told me that he always feel kind of "robotic" now with the rod inside himself, does anybody feel this way??

Also, anybody done the surgery for couple years now feel any long term side or after effect?

thanks

rmcginnnis
03-20-2006, 01:32 PM
I had my first surgery when I was 15 (I am 32 now). I had and s-shaped curve. One was 53 degrees, the other was in the 70s. Your spine will never be perfectly straight after a surgery like this, but they will get it as close as possible. I was home from the hospital 1 week after surgery and back to school 2 weeks later. I didn't have a whole lot of pain after the surgery. Two years later I developed an infection from the rods and had to have them removed (apparently a common thing). After about 12 years I started to have some chronic back pain, but nothing Ibuprofen or some NSAIDS can't handle. As for the scar, I am still a little self consious of it today. It is not the prettiest thing to see, but it's not HORRIBLE, either. I would be happy to email you some pictures if you would like.


Robin

ScoliMed
03-26-2006, 12:03 AM
I'm 22 years old and have had 3 scoli operations, the last one being 5 years ago. I was a competitive swimmer, and I now swim to keep in shape and to keep my muscles active and loose. I was able to return to light swimming just a few months post-op. I now find it is the one of the best things for my back, and if I miss more than a few days, I notice!

As for the scars, they took a bit of getting used to. However, I now where bikinis and just don't worry about it. I have 2 scars, one anterior and one posterior, (each over a foot long) because my first surgery failed. Don't worry, though, because most go successfully with quick recoveries. I did find myself getting a tattoo and getting my belly button pierced to detract a litle bit, though :). The length of your scar is going to depend on where your curve is and your Drs method. I really don't get many comments or stares, even when in a racing suit or bikini! I figure I might as well where the swimsuits I want while I'm still at the appropriate age! If you're really curious, I could probably email you a pic of my back.

As for the pain factor, I think that varies a lot with the patient and situation. One of my good friends had the same surgery 2 weeks before my first one as is still doing fine (pain free). Because I required 3 surgeries, I have a significant amount of scar tissue and muscle spasms, which causes constant daily pain. Once again, this is not the common experience.

If you go for the surgery (so long as everything goes as planned) you will always maintain that correction. A lot of the teenagers who have the surgery get corrections down to 0-10 degrees. I would see if you can find anyone else you had it a bit later, but since you're still young I'd imagine your spine is still flexible. Mine is only down to 37 degrees because the multiple surgeries.

You shouldn't need a cane or anything. I wore a brace after surgery, but the trend seems to be going away from that. Some recommendations: keep swimming until the surgery to keep your muscles strong. Also, stretch a lot before hand, and keep stretching your legs afterward! My experience was that the surgery caused be to keep my legs up more, and they are now very inflexible! Also, one you're allowed, get back to light swimming. If you have any pain or stiffness after surgery, request physical therapy once it's safe. That is one of my regrets.

I had one rod once, and two rods now. I would possibly get a second opinion on your surgery just because you aren't having pain and your curve is at one of those in between levels. Has it progressed in the last few years? If you have any questions, I've been through almost all of it, and we're about the same age, so I'm sure I can relate on the cosmetic issues and such. My email is katie517@prodigy.net if you want to ask any other questions, too.

Katie

P.S. No, I never feel "robotic" :).

sweetness514
03-27-2006, 03:12 PM
Hi all,

I am 21 years old and I have about 50 degree "C" curve towards the middle right of my back, and I am thinking to do a surgery in this coming summer.

I have couple quick questions regarding this big surgery. After the surgery where they put a titanium inside to straighten my back, will I get any back pain or scoliosus in the future?? Because I currently are not having any pain at all in my back. Will my back always be straight?? What is the side-effect for this type of surgery?? Would I need a cane to walk for couple weeks or some kinds of brace after surgery? What happened if I carry a CRT monitor like 3 wks after surgery? Where can I find pictures on how scars would look like because I am a swimmer and I am afraid people will afraid of my scar when they see it...

I already met with a surgeon in Los Angeles area, but I would really like some feedbacks from your personal experiences, also does anybody have any recommendation which surgeon they had in LA area that is awesome?

Thanks a bunch,

Andy

That's a tough predicament you're in, b/c you know that at some point you will need surgery, but since you don't have pain now, and there are risks after surgery that you can develop other types of pain and need more surgeries like some of us have, including myself, you could put it off a few more years and still get good results since you're still very young and probably flexible b/c of the swimming. The side effect down the road could be anything from the curve returning, broken harware if the fusion doesn't all heal well and developping pain and DDD in the non fused areas, as having a fusion takes a beating on the other vertebreas.

As far as being "robotic", that is a word I didn't think of, but I do feel sometimes like that, more so when I'm in pain.

The swimming is the best exercise for pain, and scoliosis, before and after surgery. I will add that after my first surgery, I started light swimming a few months after surgery. But my fusion did not heal well, as I have had revision surgery lately for that, and now my ortho suggested that I wait up to 6 months to swim. So opinions differ on the subject and I will never know if that had an effect on my fusion not healing well and completely. But usually 3 months post op is the recommened time where walking and not bending too low are suggested.

My scars are not ugly once they turn light pink/almost whitish. But I didn't have a problem with my curve before surgery either(I still have a small hump); to me pain and mobility were and will always be my first priority. Nobody ever mentioned either the scar or the hump to me either, wether they knew I had scoliosis and surgery.

Good luck.