View Full Version : Considering Surgery.....Help!!

05-26-2007, 07:15 AM
I had my orthopaedist appointment y'day. And he said that since my curves are severe that they will progress over time and that i am looking at surgery some where down the line. But that success rates of surgeries done at a younger age is more than when you are older.
He wants me to have an MRI and come see him again in 2 weeks.

So, i have been thinking........
Well, i am 29 years old. Dont have any kids yet. So, was wondering what my options would be. Need some help please.

My fears are follows.
Except for the curves visible, i am relatively healthy and active. The doctor said that my reflexes and balance is great and that neurologically i seem fine. And pain wise, its not unbearable as i feel pain in my back only after a long day. So, whether having surgery will be an unnecessary risk, specially with the complications associated with spine surgery.

Its only my husband and I living here and we live in a townhouse with so many levels and so thinking about life immediately after surgery.

And that i want to have kids soon and I know that i would have to wait a few years after surgery for pregnancy.

And definitely the fear of dealing with the pain.

I am considering it now becoz,
If i am to have it done sometime, it might as well be now rather than when i am older.

I cant consider surgery again until the kids are older.

I dont work so there is no need to take time off.

I would really like your thoughts and opinions please. And if anyone had surgery as an adult, your comments too.

Thank you.

05-28-2007, 04:25 PM
I haven't had surgery, but am considering it because my curves are getting progressively worse. Honestly, if I had 70 degree curves I would have surgery in a heartbeat. I think it would be miserable to be pregnant with curves that large- but I'm not speaking out of experience, maybe someone else here could. If you have kids, then have surgery, you're going to have to worry about them as well as helping yourself recover, and it's slow as you probably have figured out. Have you gotten any second opinions? Sometimes, it could help you make up your mind. Maybe someone else here who has had surgery could give you a better answer from experience but that's just my opinion! Good luck!

05-28-2007, 10:13 PM
Thank you for your reply, Abbie and i really appreciate your comments.
Yes, it would help if i hear from someone who has had surgery and what they had to say.

Thanks again.

05-29-2007, 11:24 AM
I have not had surgery personally, my daughter has scoliosis. One of the other patients that her doctor treats had a thoracic curve in the 60's. She had pursued various treatments and was using a Spinecor brace to control pain and help stabilize her curve. She got married last year (she's 30) and then pregnant. The hormones that are present during pregnancy sent her curve out of control. She had a very difficult pregnancy because of the severe scoliosis. As soon as she recovers sufficiently she will have surgery. They are wanting to do it before the baby gets too heavy because of the lifting restrictions after surgery. This is one of the things I think about with my daughter whose has two curves, 40 and 45. She's only 17 and they seem to have stabilized for now but I wonder if they will take off when she's older and wants to have children. Just something you might ask your doctor about as you consider all your options.

05-29-2007, 02:24 PM
Thank you so much for that input.

Yes, i am worried abt my future pregnancies as well. When i asked the doctor he said that there werent any studies done to show that the 2 effect each other (scoliosis and pregnancy) meaning that there is no proof to show that the curves will increase but nothing to say it wont either. But he did say that I would have severe back aches during pregnancy with my curves.

So, thats why i thought this might be something i should get over with before getting pregnant.


06-02-2007, 07:08 PM
It stands to reason, in the application of the physics of gravity, that as you increase mass, you increase the force. Force = Mass x Acceleration. Gravity is considered the acceleration in the equation, I would think. Mass increases with increased weight in pregnancy. That would increase the forces on the spine, I think. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. There should be a study. It would be a valid one.

06-08-2007, 08:30 AM
I had surgery last year at age 42 for 75/65 degree curves. Obviously I don't know your individual case, but I stayed fairly stable until until I was about your age and then things started to get worse. I would have the surgery again in a heartbeat and wish I had been offered it sooner. The fact that my major curve was lumbar, not thoracic made it more of a problem for me too as my internal organs were getting a bit squashed.

I really can't comment on the pregnancy thing as I don't have children but I'm sure there are people out there who could help you with this one.

Good luck with your decision.

06-25-2007, 09:44 PM
Ok. I have some info to add in to the stew, but this is just one person, so take this with a grain of salt.

Last Tuesday, my daughter had her surgery at Children's Hospital Oakland. She was fused by Dr. Policy from T5 to L1, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. She wore a brace for a year and a half, she's an athlete, she looks good, she is well-balanced and yet, in the last year (after her spine stopped growing) her middle curve progressed about nine degrees to 47 degrees.

We made a really hard decision, kind of...we all thought it became a matter of scheduling, that her curve was progressing and so...that "someday surgery" was probably going to happen. But none of us really wanted surgery for Moriah. We kind of left it up to fate, if there was a surgery date available between the first of June and the first of July, we'd take it. Dr. Policy was booked until July 31. Its hard to get OR time for 9 hours. But fate intervened, and a date opened up, so our kind of decision became a definite one, we took it.

Here's what happened. Her surgery was successful. Her recovery was amazing. Her pain was off the charts, but normal for the surgery and the morphine worked pretty well. She averaged a pain level (from 0 to 10) at 5, but could get it down to 4. Honestly, that one month hard recovery time is kind of not happening. She looks good today, and she is 6 days out of surgery.

She went home two days early. The reality was she was walking great, her pain while bad, was controlled with meds by mouth. She can get to the bathroom on her own, and she's wearing her own clothes, not even jammies! Her pain is pretty bad. Walking around the house and sitting up for several hours makes her need a two hour nap, but that's darn good. She is six days out of surgery, her incision looks amazing, her pain is well controlled today for the first time by less than her full dose of vicodin. She is still taking valium for the muscle spasms. She's able to walk all around the house and outside around the yard. She rode in the car comfortably home from the hospital yesterday, which is an hour away. And her friends are coming over to hang out with her tomorrow. She wants to walk the two blocks to her friends house tomorrow is she can. She eats anything she wants and while she has a small appetite, she eats. A lot of fresh fruit is eaten, because morphine wow, it really stops the poop. She is still searching for a good poop. Her case is phenomenally good. We suspected she would heal well, but this exceeds our expectations.

Those first few days, in recovery, ICU, and the 5th floor surgical wing --- they were awful. She looked terrible. The first morning she woke up in ICU she had almost a split personality; she was crying about the pain and trying to raise her head, and at the same time she insisted they help her into a chair to sit up and take some steps. And she did it. She took those steps.

Meds:She had zofren (sp?) a kick ass anti-nausea drug, atavan for spasms, and morphine for pain, and colace for non-existent stools, and benedryl for the hives caused by tape, and random other surgery stuff. Three days out, no more atavan, just valium as needed. Four days out, no more pca (morphine). Zofren she got 24/7 as needed, vomiting is a big no-no with spinal fusion. Now, 6 days out, she takes 1 - 1.5 vicodin every 4-6 hours, a 5 mg valium every 6 hours and benedryl 2x per day. Oh yeah, and she really needs those stool softeners, and prune juice, too.

Other results: She did not need a transfusion, the cell saver worked. She had a lot of facial swelling, it was gone in two days. She had almost no post op bleeding and her incision is pretty much clean and dry, and it looks like a long cut you might have gotten a couple days ago, it looks great. And that thoracic curve? It was 47 degrees, its now eight degrees. The rib hump? You cannot even see it. Moriah doesn't see much difference, she always liked the way she looked. But I feel really comfortable, knowing that in all likelihood, she will never need another surgery and her asthma and her sports injuries will probably get better. Her smaller left lung already has room to grow. Keep your fingers crossed, this surgery so far has been AMAZING. And her recovery is off the charts, GREAT!

She is just one case, but if you are like her, in really good shape, and you have a great surgeon, and you have help and the time to take care of yourself, this might be the best time for you to schedule your surgery.

- Martha Kreeger

06-26-2007, 10:09 AM
Firstly let me thank you for the that post. You went into the trouble of writing me so much details becoz you knew it would help and i really appreciate it with all my heart.

Secondly let me wish your daughter all the very best for a fast recovery and hope and pray that this is the end of living with scoliosis for her. I shall keep both her and you in my thoughts.

And yes, that was exactly what i needed to hear. The surgery from beginning to end and what it is really like. Your daughter is very young though and i am closing on to 30 so i fear that the recovery might be longer and much more difficult.

Anyway, i still havent decided anything for sure but i am leaning more towards not having it done due to some personal issues that crept up within the past few weeks.

Once again, thank you.


06-27-2007, 10:06 AM
I have two children and both were about 9 pounds when born. My fusion actually made my back stronger and I had no problems with pain carrying them. I did end up having c-sections with both because the tilt of my pelvic bone didn't allow enough room for big babies! It is funny that after having a fusion, you tend to bend like a pregnant woman, so when you are pregnant, it isn't any different when it comes to bending!

06-28-2007, 05:47 PM

I am 27 years old and 2 1/2 months post op. You sound very similiar to me. I was frightened of how I would recover, the possibility of future pregnancies, ect....
I can tell you that I am doing well... only taking Tylenol every other day as needed. I will most likely return to work in a month and I otherwise feel normal. Honestly, it is more difficult for me emotionally than physically right now.
If you have any questions you would like to ask me, please feel free. I do not know what personal issues have crept up, but make sure you are not using them as an excuse. There will always be outside circumstances that will be in the way of surgery.

06-28-2007, 07:37 PM
Hi Heshy,

First, let me say this: Almost 30 is still VERY YOUNG! If you are otherwise healthy there is no reason to expect that you wouldn't bounce back after surgery as well as a teenager. Of course, anyone who is recovering from major surgery needs help at home for the first few weeks at the very least. That's something that you can work out. If no friends or family are available, hire a nurse. Insurance should cover it.

Your curves are very substantial, and it sounds to me as if you are going to need surgery sooner or later. If you're going to have kids later, you DON'T want to be dealing with this in addition to your "mom duties." Ask any stay-at-home mother of young children - they keep you HOPPING! Unless you are fortunate enough to have hired help, full-time motherhood is a demanding, 24/7 job.

Finally, find the VERY BEST surgeon. I had over 30 years pain-free and problem-free following my spinal fusion (even through 2 pregnancies), because I was fortunate to have a top notch surgeon.

Best of luck,


06-28-2007, 08:33 PM

Well, I am 39 and have three children 3, 7 and 10. 5 weeks ago I was fused from T-4-L4 and I am doing extremely well. My pain is controlled by oral meds several times a day. The worst part was finding a surgeon and the week in the hoptial. The surgery went fantastic - I had a 57 degree curve and it was corrected to 29 degrees. This was more than the doctor had anticipated. As of today, this was the best thing I ever did regarding scoliosis. Before surgery, I did go to a spine care PT to learn how to lift and move properly as well as strengthen specific muscles. I think that has played a big part of my fast recovery. I still need help with my kids, be every day I improve! There are several books you can read to prepare for surgery. Some are listed on this website the other is preparing for surgery by Peggy H.

Good Luck!

06-29-2007, 07:25 PM
I have had my share of surgeries and I did wait until I was 47 before the first one. Since I don't have any children, I cannot comment on how pregnancy affects someone before or after surgery. What I can and do recommend is try to live in a one story home. Stairs are not the best thing for scoliosis patients.

Good luck to you.

Karen Ocker
06-30-2007, 09:35 AM
I climb stairs all the time--good aerobic exercise and I am fused T-4 to sacrum.