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View Full Version : Long term outlook for scoli surgery



Sherie
09-04-2006, 11:05 PM
I've been wondering what will be the long term effects of having scoliosis surgery now with the improvements in hardware? It's evident that a lot of people who had the surgery 20 years ago or longer are now having degenerative disease in the unfused portion of the spine. Also a lot of people have problems with the hardware and require revision surgery and still have problems. What can this generation of kids expect in 20 years or more? Has anyone ever discussed this with their physician and received any feedback?

I am not trying to question anyone's decision concerning their own child, I am wondering for my own daughter. Her scoliosis is very aggressive and she may need surgery in the future but I worry that she could reach my age or even younger and start having problems related to the surgery. Her primary curve is in the lumbar area and I heard there is even more wear and tear on the unfused vertebrae when the lumbar is fused. My daughter is not in any pain and looks pretty balanced, I don't even think anyone could tell if they didn't know. That's why I haven't felt compelled to pursue surgery.

Any studies or comments would be appreciated.
Sherie :confused:

LindaRacine
09-05-2006, 12:09 AM
Hi Sherie...

There are plenty of studies. I have links to abstracts for surgery outcomes on my website:

http://www.scoliosislinks.com/SurgeryResearch.htm

Regards,
Linda

magicman
09-05-2006, 01:00 PM
I think that it's really case of finding a surgeon you trust and listening to their advice for what is best for your daughter. Consider a second opinion. The problem is there will never be a perfect time to have surgery. Medicine advances all the time and no one can predict what the future will hold for scoliosis treatment. You could put the surgery off for 5 yrs but when the time is up then what? Because if you leave it another 5 yrs perhaps surgery will advance again. And so on. Meanwhile your daughter's back could be getting worse and she might feel her life is on hold.

I understand that the techniques that are used today are much safer and far more reliable than was the case for surgery decades ago. In 200 yrs time perhaps scoliosis will be seen as curable but this is not how things are at the moment. For any illness you have to go along with the best that medicine can achieve at that particular moment in time.

As I've said. Find a doctor you like and trust and then listen to their advice and ask them as many questions as you want.

Sherie
09-05-2006, 02:21 PM
Linda, thanks for the list, I can tell that took many hours to compile and saves me the trouble. By the way, from your observations, what type of hardware are most physicians using nowdays? I have seen a few people who said they had surgery in the past few years and still had Harrington rods put in, maybe they've improved upon them?

Magicman,
I appreciate the advice. You're probably right, there is never a good time to have surgery, but I don't feel my daughter is in any particular danger by not having it right now. In her case, the primary curve is lumbar thus she does not have the problems associated with severe thoracic curves. We are also pursuing alternative treatments, wether they work or not, only time will tell, but I feel we should give these a chance because the surgery is final, there is no going back. Even her orthopedic surgeon doesn't feel there is any rush, he concurred that she could wait until her 20's and still achieve very good correction (of course, we will monitor it and do something if it becomes a neccesity). So my feeling is, why not wait and see what happens with the advancements in surgery. I believe 5 or 10 years could make a difference and she will be able to decide at that point if that's what she wants to do and I will back her up 100%. Either way, it's not an easy decision and as parents, we just have to do what we feel is best and hopefully not have any regrets later on. Isn't that what parenting is all about anyways? ;) Have a great day.

LindaRacine
09-05-2006, 03:12 PM
Hi Sherie...

Most posterior systems in use in the U.S. today are known as universal systems. They all involve multiple contourable rods, fixed to the spine at multiple levels by hooks, screws, or wires. And, they're all pretty much the same, so don't get too hung up on what anyone uses.

I think that the majority of times we hear that someone has had surgery in recent years where Harrington rods were used (at least here in the U.S.), the patient is actually mistaken. In every instance I've been able to verify, the patient was incorrect, and did not have Harrington rods.

Regards,
Linda