View Full Version : Older folks surgery

06-13-2004, 07:44 PM
I have had scoliosis since infancy. I am now 67 years years old and having structural problems because of the degeneration---things are getting shoved around quite a bit, one leg is shorter than the other, various pain problems, etc., etc..
I have been to the Hughston Clinic in Columbus, Ga. and was examined by Dr. Burkus. I apparently am a candidate for surgery and am trying to get as much first hand information regarding the procedure trials and tribulations, rehab time, rehab and recovery things that most likely be encountered, etc., etc..
I know this is skimpy input for now but should know more soon and am just now starting this research routine.
I Have ordered the Wolpert Scoliosis book as a starter. Am especially seeking first hand info from older folks who have "been there done that."

07-13-2004, 11:10 AM
This thread has been moved to the adult first-time surgery section.

08-06-2004, 01:22 PM
Hi Marlene,

I am an "older" person although not yet in my sixties, but I'm no kid either. Two years ago, just before my 53rd birthday, I had my very first surgery. The reason I had it was because I was desperate for something to be done. Like you, things were moving around. My body was twisting. The pain was excruciating.

Offhand, I can't remember my degree of curves. There were three of them. I'll have to look up my records, but I do know that my rods run from about T4 - S1, which is quite long and believe me, it does make a difference. There is absolutely no more bending, no matter how much I try. Bending and stooping has to be from the knees and hips, which was quite difficult for a long time. My legs were extremely weak because of the surgery.

I learned quickly how to get up from a lying position (no more bending), so it's not bad. Sometimes I have to reposition myself before attempting to get up so I'm not too close to the edge of the bed.

Surgery was very dramatic. The first phase was to do the front of the spine and separate the part of the spine that had grown into my hip. So there were two incisions, one down the abdomin and one across the ribcage. I noticed the other day the scars have lightened so much they are hard to see.

I began bleeding so badly and my pressure dropped dramatically that surgery couldn't continue to the rear of my spine. So we had to wait three days to do the back.

The surgery on the back went nicely and two days later I asked my daughter to bring my laptop to the hospital. I sent e-mails for a few days. THEN a staph infection took over and made me deliriously ill. I hardly remember anything during that time. It was awful. Because of the staph infection, I had to stay in the hospital for seven weeks. I had originally been told I'd probably be there for two to three weeks, including rehab. So seven weeks was really a stinker.

I had three minor subsequent surgeries on the back at the site of the infection while in the hospital.

Recovery was long and slow. I have several other medical conditions, so we expected a slower recovery than average.

It's now two years and 3 months since all that and I am doing much better. My back doesn't give me much trouble. I do have some pain with my upper back, because the muscles are much weaker than they used to be, but I'm working on that. The lower back is a blessing. I used to be in such horrible pain. Now I can go out and shop without feeling I should be lying down. So I can accomplish more.

There were some good corrections with the surgery, more than my doctor originally expected. A downside is the screws that rub under the surface of my skin about an inch or so lower than the top of the rods. My doctor says it's because I am on the slender side and there isn't much fat to protect me. She said I could have those screws removed now, but I'm not ready to be cut on yet.

I don't know if this helps you. I hope it does. Good luck with your decision.