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View Full Version : long term success of surgery?



nora
05-08-2004, 06:51 PM
Hello, I am 40 years old and have been avoiding surgery for many years. My curves are approximately 47/60 (last measurement was 8 years and 2 pregnancies ago). My pain is tolerable and I live a normal life but it is getting worse as I get older. I know my curves have progressed. My biggest question is "what are patients who've had stabilization 20 or 30 years ago feeling now?" When I go on forums, I hear a lot about revisions. I realize this is due to more less sophisticated surgical methods years ago. I fear that surgery will complicate things. But I also fear waiting will make an inevitable surgery more difficult. Any sage advice. Thanks in advance. -Nora

LindaRacine
05-08-2004, 07:07 PM
Hi Nora...

I have links to a bunch of outcome studies posted on my website:

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

Regards,
Linda

nora
05-08-2004, 07:38 PM
Linda,
Thanks for all the informative research. -Nora

lbas
05-09-2004, 06:00 PM
Hi Nora,

I'm 28 years old and going through the same debate (except before having kids!!). If you want to "talk" about things, let me know and I will send you my email address...

Laura

RUSSELL
05-10-2004, 12:37 AM
just want to stop and say hello im a new member and 2 surgeries later and a third pending im here hope to talk with you all soon RUSS

MaryK
05-10-2004, 11:24 PM
Hello, I had surgery 15 yrs ago at the age of 13. It was difficult but my back is doing great now. I m still ram rod straight, and getting hateful looks from some strangers who hate my posture! :D Personally I think it's funny. My dad also had surgery 15 yrs ago at about the same age. He did have a few problems, but he has had one big plus, he's still here. He had Kyphosis (hunchback) that was interfering with his heart. The surgery solved that problem. Luckily that problem is extremely rare and not seen in scoliosis patients. Given the choice to redo I definately would have the surgery again. I have no trouble walking, very little pain (I'm overweight so that causes problems :( ) and I have had no curve return. For my dad and I the surgery was and is a blessing. Consider the future, will you have to face yrs of being crippled from the curves? If yes then seriously consider the surgery. If no, you might want to rethink. Also consider your amount of pain, will it get worse? Horrid pain would also be a good reason for the surgery. I hope that this helps a little! God Bless!

Susan101
05-27-2004, 04:17 PM
Hi nora,
I have only just found this site.I was born with scoliosis, and my mum noticed it when I sat up in my pram.

I was sent to the Royal National Orthopedic hospital in Stanmore, Middlesex, England when I was 7.

They put me in a milwaukee brace which I had to wear at night and in the mornings.

When I was 14 1/2 I had my main operation which involved taking bone from the hip and fusing it with a harrington rod to my spine.I had kylpho scoliosis-my left shoulder blade curved out and this in turn pushed out my right hip.

Before the operation I used to get a lot of pain due to the distortion, but after the 2 and a half hour operation the pain began to reduce and once I had learnt to walk again(I was in plaster for 8 months after the op) I hardly felt any pain at all.

Eventually I got married at the age of 23, had two daughters(during their birth I had an epidural which went ok), they are now 22 and 17 and neither have scoliosis-thank goodness.

I am now 49 and have just started to get slight pain in my lower back and am due to have an X-ray next week to see whether I have any deterioration in the bones of the spine such as osteoperosis or ostio arthritis(my mother has osteoperosis).

Hope this is of interest

lily
05-27-2004, 06:18 PM
Susan,

How was your last check up? Hope everything went well.

Lily

Susan101
05-28-2004, 08:31 AM
Lily

I havn't had a check-up for several years for my back, I have just been to my local doctor who has advised me to have an x-ray on my lower spine to check wear and tear. I have been very lucky in the last few years. It was a very successful operation which I had at 14 and I think now my muscle pain and twinges are due to the ageing process.

I work as a home helper so I keep active most days.

M Heymans
08-18-2004, 11:59 AM
Hi Nora:

I've noticed a real absence of positive information from those of us that had the surgery over 30 years ago. I need to tell you that in my case surgery was the answer.

I'm 50 now and had the surgery in 1967, when I was 13. I had a severe enough curve and a rib hump to warrant lumbar surgical correction. My good fortune was the Vancouver, BC surgeon, Dr. William Thompson. He was co-inventor of the Harrington rod, of which I had two. I say 'had' because they were removed when I was 20 as they became a bit uncomfortable.

Surgeries are so different now and the recovery time is weeks compared to the 6 months I spent in a body cast, flat on my back while I healed. Let me tell you how boring that was to a 13 year old!

I would definitely have surgery again if I had to make that choice. Except for bending backwards and a few hip flex type movements, my life has been quite normal. The key for me is to stay active. The less I do, the more I seize up. Yoga stretches and physical activity are good for my muscle strength. Granted, I see a chiropractor regularly because my sacrum joint needs adjustment when I overwork it (I'm a horticulturist and do alot of physical work) and I wear an elastic back support when I do very heavy work, but other than that, no further treatment.

I had two pregnancies and delivered normally with the help chiropractic treatment to keep things in alignment.

I can't imagine what life would have been like without being "fixed". I'm sure it would have been a lot worse than the few achey muscles that I experience from time to time.

The choice is a personal one and I hope you consider all the options.

Good luck!




Originally posted by nora
Hello, I am 40 years old and have been avoiding surgery for many years. My curves are approximately 47/60 (last measurement was 8 years and 2 pregnancies ago). My pain is tolerable and I live a normal life but it is getting worse as I get older. I know my curves have progressed. My biggest question is "what are patients who've had stabilization 20 or 30 years ago feeling now?" When I go on forums, I hear a lot about revisions. I realize this is due to more less sophisticated surgical methods years ago. I fear that surgery will complicate things. But I also fear waiting will make an inevitable surgery more difficult. Any sage advice. Thanks in advance. -Nora

Francine
01-17-2005, 03:25 PM
Hello I'm new at this so bear with me if I get all muddled up. I can tell you that I had good results from surgery 30 years ago when I was 14 years old. (I'm now 45, mother of 3 children, 15, 20 and 22 years old.) The trouble started out of the blue really about 2 years ago. I now have mild to moderate pain on a daily basis and am looking for help in variousplaces such as physio-therapy, chiropractic, even accupuncture. I have no idea of what you should do though. Because I had no problems for 30 years I know very little about scoliosis. Just thought I'd tell you that surgery worked well for me until now.

Francine
01-18-2005, 02:39 PM
Just wondering if there are many people out there who have had very successful surgeries (harrington rods) as youngters who now 20 or 30 years later are experiencing pain in back and hip , sort of like sciatica? I've been recently told by an orthopedic surgeon that my problems are to be expected. I'm still happy that I had the surgery because I've gotten 30 good years out of it. However, I'm only 45 and the thought of daily pain continuing indefinitely is alarming.

Lavinia
01-19-2005, 06:58 AM
In case my experience is of interest, I'm 55 (female) and had a double-stage spinal fusion for scoliosis 7 weeks ago. In my case there seemed little choice when it came down to it. Without the operation, the prognosis was that the pain would continue to increase as it has over the last 15 years, bringing further complications with it (eg continuing the cramping of the lung and other internal organs). THe operation was expected to stabilise but not improve the curvature, or not by much.

As it turned out, it was possible for the surgery to be more radical than predicted, and my curve is now reduced by half. This means the recovery is harder and more painful but I would have been pleased even if the curvature had simply been stabilised, because of the increasing limitations to my life and well-being.

However, it has been a huge undertaking, physically and emotionally, and if I and my husband had not been 100% committed to it, it would have been even more difficult to tolerate. I'm very happy to share my own experience of recovery so far, and would be especially pleased to hear from others. Best wishes for making a big decission that you will be happy with.

toners915
01-25-2005, 03:42 AM
I'm only 20 years old myself, however I had the surgery nearly 6 years ago and I haven't had a single problem since. It's easier to trust the doctors now than in past years. However always remain cautious and trust your instincts, not allowing someone with an MD to change your mind simply becuase of the framed papers on his walls.

lrmb
01-25-2005, 11:34 PM
Hi there... Wasn't sure whether to post here, because this reply isn't strictly about success of surgery longterm... Francine, do they think your pain is coming from a disk issue? (e.g. strain on disks caused by fusion above them) I suffered very badly for eighteen months with daily pain from a degenerative disk, and finally my MD put me on very low dose Amitryptilene (sp?) which is an anti-depressant that has the side effect of being a painkiller. It really helped lessen my pain, and my MD has told me I can take the small dose of it safely. Taking this brought my pain down from severe/moderate to mild, so if you are moderate/mild it might have a great effect. Just wanted to mention it as an option you could explore. Your message rang a bell with me because my pain was low back radiating around the hip and down one leg. Hope this might help in some small way; these days there are various options for pain management so try a few things and see what works best for you... ~Laura
p.s. Glad you had 30 trouble-free years! that is a lifetime :)
pps my MD also suggested acupuncture, it didn't really help the pain in my case but certainly helped my mood and general sense of well-being and definitely made me more able to cope with pain.

Francine
01-26-2005, 09:36 AM
Thanks so much Laura

Yes, the pain is said to be coming from a degenerative disc. I will definitely look into the amytriptiline. I'm familiar with this med because someone I know was on it for 15 years for anxiety and depression disorder. He overcame his issues eventually, weaned himself off the amytriptiline without any problem and suffered very few side effects while he was on it and afterward. So I'm convinced it's a safe bet. It's so good that you have gotten your pain level down.
I feel lucky indeed to have had 30 good years and hope to find a way to have lots more!

Francine

swilkers
01-26-2005, 10:48 PM
Hi Nora, I had surgery 26 years ago... at age 12 i am now 38 ...well almost 29! And I can honestly tell you I have had to this point at least zero complications... I believe the best thing that could have happened to me was to have the surgery - if I hadn't I wouldn't have had the beautiful posture I have... I would have continued to have more and more curvature and the complications that go with it... I know the surgery is scary and at 12 - wasn't my choice... But I thank my parents for haveing the forsight to have this done for me... My little girl age 10 was just diagnosed... She is in a brac enow 2 months and will probably have to have surgery and although it scare the daylights out of me... I know I am ok ... better than ok... If you are having any pain or your spine is still curving more and more... You should think about it seriously - heck these days I here after surgery just a little brace is necessary !!! I had to wear a plaster body cast fo 6 months! :) Good Luck Nora