View Full Version : Breathing Issue & Surgery

03-21-2008, 04:12 PM
I am wondering whether having thoracic fusion surgery improves breathing, it stays the same or is worse after surgery?


03-21-2008, 04:27 PM

Are you referring to fusion surgery for your children? One or both?

If the surgeon is able to straighten the spine and provide added vertical space for the chest, the breathing *may* improve with scoliosis surgery. If the child is not skeletally mature, there are chances the chest/lungs would be affected by fusion surgery - not enough vertical space to grow completely. This is rare in older children/teens, but for kids like my Braydon (who had fusion as an infant) chest space is a precious commodity. He has a significant rib hump on the left side in back. We've considered a thoracoplasty to reduce the rib hump, but there are new studies showing reduced lung function in some patients after thoracoplasty. He currently has 42% total lung function. We don't want to risk losing anymore. We're hoping to improve his lung function by being active and breathing exercises, etc. No guarantees ever.

I'm sure this doesn't answer your question. Good luck.

03-21-2008, 05:21 PM

Actually your response is exactly what I am looking for. Thank you.

I have been reading some documents about lung function and fusion surgery. Unfortunately I can't attach them here because the file sizes are too large.

It is my daughter Esme who may be needing the spinal fusion surgery - we have to decide whether to go ahead or not and issues like lung function are important to us in our decision-making. Cosmetically I think she looks great but her x-rays are showing a different story. If we are to go ahead with surgery it will be for reasons like improving her lung function (if it is in fact impaired) or to protect her heart from damage not for cosmetic reasons since her back looks really great right now.


03-22-2008, 12:12 AM
The following post will be sounding a little strange since the forum member I am responding to has deleted the post I am responding to!!........

With all due respect the decision for surgery or not to go for surgery will be based on whether or not we think it will actually do her any good in the long run.

If she has the surgery but has no better lung function (or worse), her curves continue to progress, she has more pain and her little rib hump is made worse, she needs more surgeries later - what exactly is the point of the spinal fusion surgery? We do not relish the idea of having ribs removed to prevent the rib hump developing later and restore lung capacity - which seems to be required in some cases.

We are not totally against the surgery just trying to be cautious and make sure this is the right decision for our child. I strongly object to being criticized for asking questions on this forum. For anyone to assume we would not have the surgery done would be wrong. We just haven't 100% decided yet. We just want to go forward with this with both eyes open as informed as we can be.

We do have an appointment booked (in April) with an orthopaeidc surgeon to discuss the surgery.

If anyone has any insights to share about lung function pre and post surgery - whether it is better or worse or the same - I'd love to read them. Thanks.


03-22-2008, 07:58 AM
Patrick never had a pulmonary function test done but he did get short of breath. He did not have a thoracoplasty and he still has a significant ribhump. He had lordoscoliosis which means his thoracic spine was pushing into his chest cavity thus creating less space for his heart /lungs. After surgery he never felt short of breath again.
I fully understand your feelings. It takes time to get used to the idea of surgery and your hope to first exhaust all other possibilities is only natural.
I had so many doubts before surgery (although Patrick didn't doubt for a minute that it was the best thing for him) but now after surgery there are no regrets. Just hoping we can say that in ten years from now.