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athletescoli
09-28-2006, 06:08 PM
whatsup everyone, i didn't know this site was so huge. Anyways, my name is ben and I am 17 with scoliosis. i am a senior at an all boys bording school. i have a thoracic curve of 57 degrees and a lumbar curve of about 35. I was told that i need surgery and there is no way to prevent it. The problem is that i love sports. its coming to the wrestling season and after that, soccer season. If i were to have surgery now, i would not make it for either of those seasons. If i postpone it to the end of my senior year, it could get significantly worse. this would mean that the surgery would involve more vertibra further down the spine. First of all, my question is whether anyone was in this type of situation? what were your degrees measured at? did you go through with surgery? what was the recovery time? Were you able to participate in athletics again? if i could get an answer or any comments at all as soon as possible, i would appreciate it immensely.
thanks, Ben

Carmell
09-29-2006, 12:16 PM
Hi Ben,

I'm just a parent, but wanted to give you my very humble opinion. Scoliosis is rarely an emergency situation. You have time to research and find the right doctor with the right recommendation and the right timing for you. That's most important. Have you had a second (or third or more) opinion about recommendations? If not, I highly suggest you see another ortho to get another opinion.

Remember, too, that many variables are involved here. Your age (bone age and growth potential) need to be considered. If you were a girl at 17, the chances of your spine progressing rapidly are much lower because most girls are already skeletally mature by your age. Has the doctor told you what your Risser score is? A Risser score will give you an idea of how much more your bone structure will be growing. If you have a Risser of 3 or more, your bones are almost done growing and the statistics show your spine will not progress at a rapid rate. Waiting one or two years will not make much difference in recommendations for surgery. If your Risser is 2 or less, that means your bones still have a lot of growing left to do. The chances of your scoliosis progressing are higher. My gut feeling is that regardless of your Risser score, waiting until you are out of highschool is not the worst option (unless there is another medical condition (or two) that I don't know about that would contribute to a rapidly progressing scoliosis).

I know several girls with curves in the 50s or higher who are waiting until its the right time and the right procedure for them to have surgery. Surgery is a HUGE decision and should never be taken lightly. You need to talk to your parents (if they are part of the decision here) and tell them your concerns. Also ask if you can get another opinion because rushing into surgery is not in your best interest. You have to be mentally prepared as much as possible. I'm not trying to discount your doctor because she/he knows you best. But, I would hope you can have the peace of mind YOU need with whatever decision you make.

HTH

twisterLA
09-29-2006, 06:06 PM
Ben,

I can only share my personal experience but maybe it will help you. It seems like men are the minority here so here is another guy's perspective.

I am in my early 30's and am preparing for surgery in a few weeks' time. At your age, my scoliosis was still undiagnosed. I did a lot of sports and competed in tennis and equestrian (horse) events. In retrospect, I think that I focused on all the wrong sports.

In my 20's I had a car accident and the xray revealed a curve in the 20 degree range. I was told that it was no big deal and just to watch it- which I didn't (big mistake). As part of the physical therapy after the accident, the therapist had me doing Pilates. I really didn't want to do it because it seemed like a 'boring, feminine sport'. I was SO WRONG. My therapist was really wacky ( he was in Cirque du Soleil at one point!!!) but, in retrospect, he was a GENUIS and the first person that really helped me. A family member of his had scoliosis and he suggested PILATES, YOGA and SWIMMING. I really improved for a while but then I stopped going.

Over the years, I worked long hours and gave up team sports. My main exercise was weight training and I really bulked up with muscle. I looked good but my spine was suffering. Well, fast forward to today and a 50+ degree curve with impending surgery.

I have been told by my surgeon, and other surgeons, that the fusion will not prevent me from doing most sports- I will lose flexibility though and should avoid jarring motions. I was told that even skiing will be possible. Still, I suspect that riding horses will not be in my future. In anticipation of my surgery, I am doing YOGA and Pilates. Both make me feel a lot better. I can't be certain if I could have avoided this surgery, but my advice would be to work on it now when you are young. Soccer and tennis are great sports but your main concern needs to be addressing your spine's BALANCE and finding sports that improve rather than reinforce its curve. I wish that I could go back in time because I would have done things differently. Well, it's just my experience and personal opinion but I hope it might be of help.

Christina_in_NC
10-13-2006, 07:30 AM
Ben,
we just came back from seeing a surgeon yesterday. (Dr. Hey in Raleigh,NC) The surgery he does on adults and children is amazing. MAybe you can check for second and third opinions and find someone in your area who would do it. He attaches the titanium rods with pedicle screws. He says his patients are standing up the day after surgery, one high school girl was back at school 3 days after surgery and within 6 days of surgery back at cheerleading. You don't need to be out for the season if you get the surgery. (He also had an olympic swimmer I think he sadi - who was swimming competitively 2 weeks after surgery).
Christina in NC

marmyte
10-25-2006, 08:13 PM
ben i can appreciate why you're scared: there are risks associated with surgery which are more "severe" than not being able to wrestle or play football again, but i don't think you should give up. i don't think it's impossible for you to play sport again, but it will take time and a lot of determination to get through the times when you're not allowed (or don't feel well enough) to play.

my story isn't quite as impressive as some of the ones christina has relayed but i was back on a horse at 9 weeks post op (i started driving again at 7 weeks, plus swimming to build my strength up before i rode again).

the one thing i'd advocate is leaving surgery until a convenient point in terms of school. i waited until i'd finished school and took a year off to have surgery before moving to university. some people are back at school in four weeks (occasionally less) but it's about making the right decision for yourself.

EVA
01-03-2007, 05:46 PM
I Am So Glad I Have Found This Forum. My 16 Yr Old Son (17 In 2 Weeks) Has Been Diagnosed With Scoliosis. The Curve Is 60 Degrees.
I Had Always Had Him Check Yearly As His Cousin, My Nephew Had To Be Operated Due To His 49 Deg Curve 5 Yrs Ago. The Year I Did Not Take Him (during His 15th B Day) Was Apperently The Year The Curve Went From "we See Nothing" To "he Needs To Be Operated Within The Next Two Months" No Other Options, I Have Been Told. His Father, My Ex-husband Hooked Up With A Physical Therapist 160 Miles From Our Home And Thats Were I Have Been Driving Him For The Last 2 1/2 Months Twice A Week. His Father Is Anti-surgery And Is Stressing Me Out More Than I Already Am. Can Anybody Tell Me The Connection Between The Difference In Leg Length And The Scoliosis? Both My Nephew And Son Have This Situation And The Doctor Didn't Seem To Make A Reference To The Connection. ( He Kind Of Blew It Off) My Son Has Been Told He Will Not Grow Anymore And Being 5'3" Has Upset Him Even More. Does Anybody Know If He Will Still Grow After Surgery? How Will His Life Be Not Just After Surgery And 20 Years From Now. Has Anybody Been Able To Keep Track Of Any Long Term Damages Due To This Surgery?

I Appreciate Any Support As I Feel So Desperate To Find Help For My Son. P.s. I Have A 3 & 4 Yr Old I Am Obsessing Over This With Them Too.

Thank You
Eva

macky
01-03-2007, 06:04 PM
Eva, I know what it is like believe me when your son has an illness, you wish it was you instead dont you.
Anyway my reason for answering your post. I had my operation for scoliosis as you can see in 1966, now I have had a perfectly normal life. I have done everything I ever wanted to do, had two sons, worked, travelled the lot and my Harrington rods never ever held me back.
In 1997 I started to have pain which has persisted. But Eva my op was back in the dark ages when they were only just starting to use Harrington rods for scoliosis. From what I have read on this forum these days things are not any where near like they were ,they are so much better. Medical science has advanced leaps and bounds. It took me 12 months to get over my surgery, now they are out and about sometimes in a few weeks.

I grew 2 and a half inches, my curve was 85 degrees. I would have thought your son would grow a little, but then again I am not a doctor eh! They know best.
I think you are doing the best for your son and dont let your ex husband stress you out. I guess any type of surgery is scarey and he is probably worried as well.
My heart just breaks for you, not cheering you up am I, sorry. I can just feel how upset you are and I do know how that feels when one of your children are sick. Dont worry about things that havent happened yet though, as they may never happen.
I will give you all the support you need, but I know there are other people on this forum who can answer your more medical questions better than I.

God bless,
Macky xx

Scoliosis_Gal
01-03-2007, 07:12 PM
I dont know if this will help you much at all, but i know this lady that had back surgery and she was a ballet dancer. She can still push her leg up to her ear in the front, but she can hardly move it back much farther than you would to run. Plus, she cant twist her back much.
There is a chance, after a couple of YEARS, that you would be able to play soccer, but i have a feeling that if you go through with the surgery you wont be wrestling anymore.
There is one other possible solution. Its this therapy thing [its basically a bunch of massages]. It can help your back be straight again. Someone gave me this really informative site and i'll give it to you. i'm looking into it too. Trying to avoid surgery too :rolleyes:
I'm not really athletic, but i <3 swimming, so i really dont want to have surgery. Plus, i would have to do it like right after x-mas next year and then go on independent study and be confined to my home for like 3 months. Doesn't sound too apealing to me.
I hope this helps! You can private message me if you have any other q's or anything like that.
http://www.massageandbodywork.com/Articles/OctNov2003/scoliosismanagement.html

EVA
01-03-2007, 08:47 PM
Macky,

Thank You. I Do Feel Better Having Heard From Someone Who Has Lived With The Operation For Several Years. I Am Sorry To Hear About Your Pain And I Guess That Is Something My Son Will Have To Bear If It Ever Comes To That. He Is So Young And At This Age Thier A Little Spacey I Don't Think He Can Understand About Looking Ahead To Foresee The Complications Of This Operation. I Guess That's A Good Thing. As Parents We Only Think About The Future Problems. I Will Try To Stay Positive And As You Said Not Worry To Much About What Might Happen. I Will Keep You In My Prayers And In My Thoughts While I Continue My Research On Scoliosis.

Ernest (my Son) Next Appt With The Orth Surg Is Jan 23 To See If Physical Therapy Has Improved His Curve. I Will Let You Know If Its
Good News.

Thank You,
Hang In There With The Pain

structural75
01-04-2007, 12:01 AM
Eva,

In response to the leg length discrepancy... If your son has a 'structural' difference in lengths (the bones of his legs are a different length) it can indeed give rise to a scoliosis and should be considered in whatever solution you opt for. Reason being... as the legs rise up from the floor in standing, starting from the same plane of the floor, they will end at the pelvis at different horizontal planes. This creates a lateral tilt of the pelvis (one side higher than the other) which also tilts the sacrum with it, thus sending the lumbar spine up and out of the pelvis at an angle (the start of the curvature). Depending on the adaptive capacities of the individual and the severity of the length discrepancy, the deviation will correct itself once in the form of a C-curve, or over-correct and correct again to form the common S-curve. From that point on gravity will assert itself and continue to exert its force downward force through the curvature, negatively assisting its progression. This is where a heel lift would be of use.
Otherwise you'll always have an uneven base from which you're asking the spine to orient.

On the otherhand, if x-rays do not confirm an actual structural difference in leg lengths, then it is a 'functional' leg length discrepancy. This is the bodies attempt to neutralize the curve as best it can by rotating and elevating the two pelvic bones differently in relation to one another, which usually results in a 'functional' difference in leg lengths. This type is secondary to the scoliosis and will often change as the curvature is corrected.

Hope that's helpful in understanding the relevance. Best to your son.

kind regards,
structural

p.s. - Just for the sake of clarity and such, the article referenced earlier is not a form of "massage" (the term is commonly used synonymously with S.I. as an attempt to describe an otherwise unfamiliar form of manipulation). Massage has wonderful benefits, but those effects shown in the article are not possible with massage therapy (relaxing muscles).

macky
01-04-2007, 03:24 AM
I will keep you in my prayers too Eva, what a lovely person you are.

Eva when I had the operation it was 40 years ago and they used the Harrington rods and that is why I am having a few problems now. As far as I can ascertain they do not use Harrington rods anymore because of the problems they caused, they use much better ones that had been tried and tested.

I cant say whether you son will have problems years and years down the track but dear that likelihood is really unlikely but I am not an orthopaedic doctor, that is only my own opinion.

Eva, I have never, ever regretted having the operation, in fact I consider myself so very, very lucky.

May god bless you and your family,
Macky

The Slice
01-04-2007, 09:41 AM
Hey Ben, the only way to get a true sense of what you need to do is talk to your doctor. You should already be involved with an orthopedic surgeon on this. It would be a good idea to get a second, or even third opinion. You may be able to expidite all of this by making copies of any xrays and of your medical records available to whomever is doing the additional evaluation. Remember to keep things in perspective, and while it may seem really important now to wrestle and play soccer while you are still in high school, you need to look at the long term. You need to ask advice of the orthopod(s) as to whether you can wait until the seasons are over, or whether waiting coul result in bigger problems. As Carmell stated, at 17, you may be in the middle of your adolescent growth, which means that delaying surgery could allow the curve to progress. Progression of the curve could lead to other problems like decreased lung volumes, and nerve damage. While it is not an emergency, waiting until these sports seasons are over (I'm assuming somewhere near the end of the year) may be too long. I knew a young man who was 6' 4" when he was graduated from high school, and grew another 3" after that. You need to get that Risser score, and or an evaluation of your skeletal bone growth (done with an xray). Good luck.

chic xx chic
01-04-2007, 10:03 PM
hii! i play softball and LOVE IT. anyways, my curves were about 30ish when they said i needed a brace, then hes all like "i dont think it would work since your curves are HUGEE." yeah. so i got a brace and now its 40 and been at 40 since the summer, i might have a chance! =] but did you try getting a brace? it made mine go wayy slower.

Gailee
01-06-2007, 02:58 PM
I wouldn't have surgery.My brother doesn't have scoliosis,and had surgery ..and he is worse then ever.Every person I know that also had some kind of back surgery is worse off now too. Your 17,still young...keep up on it and take care.Get another opinion.I was also active in sports but stopped 7 years ago(softball,bowling,biking)and had pain along the way.But for the past 7 years Im freaking hurting.I awake to back pain everyday.Do something while your young /Good luck

Gailee

Showtime
02-19-2007, 04:29 PM
whatsup everyone, i didn't know this site was so huge. Anyways, my name is ben and I am 17 with scoliosis. i am a senior at an all boys bording school. i have a thoracic curve of 57 degrees and a lumbar curve of about 35. I was told that i need surgery and there is no way to prevent it. The problem is that i love sports. its coming to the wrestling season and after that, soccer season. If i were to have surgery now, i would not make it for either of those seasons. If i postpone it to the end of my senior year, it could get significantly worse. this would mean that the surgery would involve more vertibra further down the spine. First of all, my question is whether anyone was in this type of situation? what were your degrees measured at? did you go through with surgery? what was the recovery time? Were you able to participate in athletics again? if i could get an answer or any comments at all as soon as possible, i would appreciate it immensely.
thanks, Ben
Hi Ben,
Read my thread (Showtime). I was there when I was your age. When I was your age I was modeling professionally for JC Pennys with two 45 degree curves. I have had it for 42 years now without surgery and without a brace. I have 5 children and 3 have had scoliosis. No one had a brace and my son was a great wrestler. You do have a choice. I did not want to be inhibited at all because I was so heavily involved in athletics. Sports is your friend all your life with such large curves. I can tell you the consequences of no surgery vs having surgery if you would like. I'm not against it. I just know my situation as I have lived my years without surgery with two 45 degree curves at age 12 .....do the math and you will know my age. My purpose in writing is to give anyone the blessing of my experience without surgery or brace after so long. When you first find out or you find you have such a large curve you feel like a freak. But there is a life and you can be just as normal as anyone else. My years with it may be an inspiration to others.
Showtime

Showtime
02-19-2007, 04:32 PM
hii! i play softball and LOVE IT. anyways, my curves were about 30ish when they said i needed a brace, then hes all like "i dont think it would work since your curves are HUGEE." yeah. so i got a brace and now its 40 and been at 40 since the summer, i might have a chance! =] but did you try getting a brace? it made mine go wayy slower.

Hello,
Read my thread (Showtime). I was there when I was your age. When I was your age I was modeling professionally for JC Pennys with two 45 degree curves. I have had it for 42 years now without surgery and without a brace. I have 5 children and 3 have had scoliosis. No one had a brace and my son was a great wrestler. You do have a choice. I did not want to be inhibited at all because I was so heavily involved in athletics of so many different kinds. Sports is your friend all your life with such large curves make sure. I can tell you the consequences of no surgery vs having surgery if you would like. I'm not against it. I just know my situation as I have lived my years without surgery with two 45 degree curves at age 12 .....do the math and you will know my age. My purpose in writing is to give anyone the blessing of my experience without surgery or brace after so long. When you first find out or you find you have such a large curve you feel like a freak. But there is a life and you can be just as normal as anyone else. My years with it may be an inspiration to others.
Showtime

A User Is Me
03-14-2007, 06:00 PM
Ben,
we just came back from seeing a surgeon yesterday. (Dr. Hey in Raleigh,NC) The surgery he does on adults and children is amazing. MAybe you can check for second and third opinions and find someone in your area who would do it. He attaches the titanium rods with pedicle screws. He says his patients are standing up the day after surgery, one high school girl was back at school 3 days after surgery and within 6 days of surgery back at cheerleading. You don't need to be out for the season if you get the surgery. (He also had an olympic swimmer I think he sadi - who was swimming competitively 2 weeks after surgery).
Christina in NC

HI,
DId you have a surgery with Dr. Hey? Could you tell me your experience?

MATJESNIC
03-14-2007, 06:21 PM
Someone on spinekids just had surgery with Dr. Hey and she said she had a 100% correction. I didn't know there was such a thing.

A User Is Me
03-14-2007, 07:27 PM
Someone on spinekids just had surgery with Dr. Hey and she said she had a 100% correction. I didn't know there was such a thing.
Thanks for that info.
Is it possible to talk with that person? I am so confused about this site most of the time I do not know where I am.

MATJESNIC
03-14-2007, 09:52 PM
Her Parents sent me some pictures and updates about her surgery. Let me send them an e-mail and ask if they will talk to you. Do you live in North Carolina?

Christina_in_NC
03-14-2007, 10:41 PM
Thanks for that info.
Is it possible to talk with that person? I am so confused about this site most of the time I do not know where I am.

Yes, we did have the surgery with Dr Hey.
My 13 yo dd had fusion from T5-L3 on Feb 22 - and yes, she had a 100% correction :D - curves went from ~C20, T48, L48 to O,O,O!!. We are now at 3 weeks post-op and doing well. I think the athletes seem to recover much faster than non-athletic types (several back up and participating in sports within weeks of surgery) but compared to other stories I hear even our recovery is fast. She was in the hospital from Thursday (surgery) to Monday - 4 nights. Could probably have gone home the day before if I had not been so nervous about bringing her home (it really was not a big deal) and if she had not been throwing up so much. She could not keep crackers down - and on Sunday the nurse encouraged us just to let her have liquids again and try on Monday for real food. The Dr. would have been fine with us going home on Sunday.
The hospital is excellent - I heard some complaints from some other people but it seems they wanted more one-on-one care than a hospital can give.
Dr. Hey is fabulous. He left Duke University about 3 years ago to work on his own so he could take time with his patients and so no interns would be doing his surgeries. He uses titanium rods and screws. He was wonderful in pre-op appointments really helping us to make a good decision and understand what was at stake. He is very confidence inspiring and we were not left wondering if we had made the right decision. He also felt free to tell us what he would do if he were in our shoes (not all surgeons will offer that). Also, from other people who have been to see him, I can say that he does not always recommend surgery as the first thing to do. He makes it sound easy if you need the surgery, but he also wanrs those who have an option that surgery is not always easy.
I'll let you throw out some specific questions...
his web site is www.heyclinic.com and he has a blog and podcast at http://web.mac.com/drhey/iWeb/Site/Welcome.html These have specific surgeries, questions from patients, etc and are interesting to see.

A User Is Me
03-15-2007, 12:11 AM
I am so glad to hear your daughter is doing well. Was the surgeon able to correct most of the curvature? My 15 y.o. son's bmi is 14 and I read in the forum being too thin is not a good thing when facing this kind of surgery so I am very concerned about this. How big is the scar? The length is about 16-18" right? Was she thin too? Thanks.

A User Is Me
03-15-2007, 12:23 AM
Her Parents sent me some pictures and updates about her surgery. Let me send them an e-mail and ask if they will talk to you. Do you live in North Carolina?

Thanks. Yes I do live in NC.

MATJESNIC
03-15-2007, 07:55 AM
She said she got 100% correction.

Christina_in_NC
03-15-2007, 12:33 PM
Yes, my daughter is very thin - she is 13 and was 5feet tall and had to go on a weight gaining regimen to hit 80 lbs so she could go to his preferred hospital (he can operate at another hospital that is not next to his office with smaller children - but they have to be in ICU after surgery and parents can not stay overnight with the child so he greatly prefers to use what is called "Little Duke" or Duke Health Raleigh Hospital).

Being thin was not an issue to him. The only thing I ever heard is someone told me there is a larger chance of needing to go back in later in life and remove any protions of the hardware that may start irritating - he claims this happens in less than 2% of cases and is in most cases a 45 min surgery. The chances of this being a problem were so much less than the chances of her scoli being a problem we had no choice.

Her scar is 9.5 inches. She was fused from T5-L3. He cuts as little as possible and then reaches up and down inside the cut to get the last few screws in. She does have a video of the surgery if that would help.
He uses plastic surgery closure - which means no stitches or staples and you can shower the next day if you wish.

The surgery lasted 3 hours and the nurse called us every hour to let us know what was going on and how she was responding.

The correction was 100% - she has no curvature at all.