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View Full Version : Needing surgery-Scared!!!



CStadler
02-21-2007, 06:31 PM
51 years old and I have just been told I need surgery. I have a 50 degree T12 scoliosis that has started to twist anteriorly with substantial pain daily. The surgeon has told me this will only get worse as I age.

I have read of people on this site that had the surgery but no body ever talks about the fear of paralysis. I am terrified this may happen.

I was told it is a 8-10 hour surgery, 2 weeks in hospital and a long rehab period possibly up to a year to return to my job.

Wondering about all the limitations with movement after being fused from T6 all the way down. What should I expect not to be able to do. He told me I would never be able to run or jog again. I am wondering what else.

Anyone please!

bbest
02-21-2007, 06:46 PM
Hi -

Welcome to the forum. I am not exactly sure of the exact statistics, but I do know that the vast majority of patients come out of surgery just fine. During surgery, all of your vitals are monitored very closely and most surgeons (if not all) use an actual spinal cord monitor to make certain the spinal cord has not been damaged during the surgery. Also, many surgeons do what is called a "wake-up" test at the end of surgery. They reduce the anesthesia just enough to briefly wake you up and ask you to move your toes, etc. It sounds awful, but you will have no memory of it at all.

It is normal to be scared. I was and so was everyone I 've spoken to or corresponded with at one time or another. I wish you the best of luck.

CStadler
02-21-2007, 07:41 PM
Hi -

Welcome to the forum. I am not exactly sure of the exact statistics, but I do know that the vast majority of patients come out of surgery just fine. During surgery, all of your vitals are monitored very closely and most surgeons (if not all) use an actual spinal cord monitor to make certain the spinal cord has not been damaged during the surgery. Also, many surgeons do what is called a "wake-up" test at the end of surgery. They reduce the anesthesia just enough to briefly wake you up and ask you to move your toes, etc. It sounds awful, but you will have no memory of it at all.

It is normal to be scared. I was and so was everyone I 've spoken to or corresponded with at one time or another. I wish you the best of luck.
Still trying to maneuver around this site. Thank you for your reply. What about the range of motion and limitations afterwards?

bbest
02-22-2007, 11:03 AM
It all depends on your age and how many levels you are fused. You indicated you are being fused T6 all the way down. Down to what? L5? Sacrum? It makes a big difference. Generally, no bending or twisting for at least 6 months. There are also restrictions on lifting. Linda Racine has a very informative checklist outlining these sorts of things on her website. I don't have the link, but it has been posted here several times.

bsprings
02-22-2007, 11:35 AM
I am 45 and just had surgery 10 weeks ago from T4 to the sacrum. My curve was 100 deg and plus I had severe kyphosis so the surgery was complicated but honestly I never really worried about paralysis. I think it was because I trusted my doctor so much (Boachie). In fact we never even discussed paralysis. Yes I am really stiff but I have always been active and believe me I am determined to return to an active life. I have horses and am sure I will ride again-he said after one year. I'm glad you have found this forum- it helped me so much before my surgery. Get in good shape before surgery and that will help your recovery alot. And most important- make sure you research and choose the right doctor. Best of luck!
Cathie

LindaRacine
02-22-2007, 12:21 PM
Wondering about all the limitations with movement after being fused from T6 all the way down. What should I expect not to be able to do. He told me I would never be able to run or jog again. I am wondering what else.

Anyone please!
http://www.scoliosislinks.com/PostSurgActivities.htm

JoAnn5
02-22-2007, 04:33 PM
Hi C
I was 53 when i had my surgery and had a long fusion, very similar to yours. This was about a year and half ago. I was put under general anesthesia 3 different times in one week with 3 days between each surgery. One was for the anterior thoracic part, second was for anterior lumbar, and the third was for the posterior part T4-Sacrum.

I don't do a lot of running.... but then i never did before either... I can breeze along pretty fast to get to the phone though... almost at a run. I keep my little 18 month old granddaughter some weekends, and can pick her up and rock her and lay her in her crib... I teach school and was out for 3 months after surgery.

Just follow your surgeon's advice on temporary limitations. Eventually, you get back almost all of your mobility.... And as far as worrying about paralysis, don't even let those negative thoughts take up residence in your mind...

I'm so glad you found this place... it's a great source and resource! Welcome..... JoAnn

CStadler
02-25-2007, 12:22 PM
Thank you so much to everyone who replied. This site is truly a blessing. I am in good shape and am very determined to get back to as many things as I can. Most of the posts here are very encouraging. It is wonderful that everyone shares their experiences. It helps so much. I will return the same after surgery which should be in about 6-8 months. The surgeon I have in Vancouver is suppose to be the best so with that part I am comfortable.
Thanks again.

Cena75
02-25-2007, 03:06 PM
C,
It's great that you found this forum where you can ask questions and get support! It's also important that you're comfortable with your specialist. Is he in Vancouver, Canada? (I'm in BC). Who are you seeing? (if you don't mind sharing :) )
Cena

CStadler
02-26-2007, 12:04 PM
I am going to the Vancouver General Hospital Back Clinic. Surgeon is Dr. M. Dvorak. I felt very comfortable with him and he really took a lot of time to explain everything and answer all my question. I feel like I will be in very good hands.

lberg
02-26-2007, 12:45 PM
From what hear he is the best, I am from Vancouver too, how long did it take you to see him and how long until your surgery? I know this is so scary and our healthcare system makes it even more when there is so little 2 opinions available and more of us popping up that need help.

Cena75
02-26-2007, 01:06 PM
I've heard he's great! I have been to the Spine Clinic as well several years ago, but saw one of the other doctors.

CStadler
03-02-2007, 07:15 PM
I waited 16 months to get into the back clinic then saw a rehab specialist. He had me come back a second time and told me after reviewing my
CT, Xrays etc. that with everything I am doing (regular exercise, good diet, yoga) there wasn't any other help he could offer me. He then suggested a surgeon. That took about 4 weeks. The surgery is suppose to be about an 8 month wait. The surgeon told me my scoliosis is not only curved but twisting anteriorly and that this type always seems to get worse, never better. So it was just a case of time before I would need the surgery not whether or not I wanted it.

Pips
03-03-2007, 08:03 AM
I came across a statistic once that said the chance of paralysis was around 0.01% for a healthy teenager rising to around 0.1% for a mature adult.

I only rememebr it because my case the statistics that were quoted were so much higher (10% risk of total paralysis). The good news is that even with my kind of odds, I ended up with remarkably little damage (some was expected) so please try not to worry. It is amazing how much care they take, especially with all the computerised testing and everything that they do.

As to flexibility - at 1 year post op in bending I am not far off what I was before, but I cannot twist at all. My fusion goes to L5. Before surgery I too had a very pronounced twist which was progressing quite rapidly and that all had to be de-rotated during surgery.

I had to wait 2 years for my surgery - our health service is not great - but a bit of a wait helps you get your head round it I think.

Good luck!

lberg
03-03-2007, 02:44 PM
Hi there, is that called "rotoscoliosis?"

LindaRacine
03-03-2007, 03:32 PM
Rotoscoliosis is the term usually used by radiologists to describe scoliosis with rotation (which all, or at least the vast majority of us, have).

--Linda