View Full Version : Countdown to Surgery

07-04-2004, 06:55 AM
Hello Everyone, I am from Australia and after months of visiting a number of surgeons I have finaly decided that surgery is the only way to go:( . I have planned it for October 14 2004, I have a 51 degree curve and need a T8 to L3/4 fusion (no long compared to some of you). I am 34 years of age and have a WONDERFUL husband and 2 little children (4 and 2 years of age). I am going to visit my surgeon again on the 24th July to ask loads more questions in which I have forgotten to ask at other times. There is one thing I need to know (as I am very new to all the terminology and EVERYTHIGN basically).... I have a hump on my back (ribs) cause my spine is not only curved but twists. Is this normal with all scoliosis patients? The doc said he will try and get the bone graft from the rib cage and do something about the hump. Also, I am an Event Manager.. is planning to go back to work in late January way to soon or is it acheivable?

Thanks for all your stories on the forum - its great to know I have finally come to a place where I can chat about it!

xx Kylie-Ann

07-04-2004, 12:45 PM
Hi Kylie-Ann....

Congratulations on making the decision to have surgery. Since I went through it myself 13 years ago, I know how difficult it can be.

To answer your question, almost everyone with a significant thoracic curve has a rib hump. I'm not certain, but it sounds like your surgeon might be wanting to perform a thoracoplasty. You can read about the procedure here:


While most of the people I know who have had thoracoplasties tell me that they're pretty painful, they all are delighted with the cosmetic results.

In regard to when you can go back to work, all I can tell you is that we're all VERY different. Some people are able to go back to work in two months. Others take 6-12 months or even more. Almost all adults who have the surgery complain of being exhausted for the first 6-12 months. So, while you may be able to work, you will almost certainly be exhausted at only 4 mos. post-op. Many of us go back to work part-time for the first few months. If you can work from home, you might even find you can work sooner.

Best of luck with your surgery.


07-04-2004, 01:31 PM
Hi Kylie-Ann,

It's great that you have found this site. You'll meet lots of nice people who are willing to share information and give out lots of love and understanding. I had my surgery in April of this year. I had anterior/posterior from T1 to the sacrum for a T curve of 79 and a L curve of 44. I'm thinking of going back to work the end of August if the doctor let's me. I work in an elementary school library so I can sit alot if need to. The doctor wants me to be very careful in what I do so as not to cause any problems with the fusion. We have started to see bone growth already in the fused areas. Isn't it great that we have access to the Internet! What did we do before we had it? Great meeting you! Theresa

07-05-2004, 07:12 AM
Hello Linda and Theresa

Thankyou for your replies:)

Linda, thanks for the info on Thoracoplasty - I have printed it off and ready to ask more questions at my next appointment - doc will love it:eek: Did you have this procedure adn is it quite common or do most patients prefer to keep the hump?

Therese - my goodness, my surgery is only minor compared to yours - hope you are recovering well. Are you looking forward to heading back to work adn do you think you are ready to make the big step?

I think I might need to review my situation with work as I cannot do my job half hearted - its all systems go! Back to the drawing board for me I think and take it as it comes. When you arrive home from hospital - do you tend to spend the 1st week in bed or are you moving around quite a bit? What is it like lifting your arms to brush your hair etc. WIll I be able to squatt down to kiss my children - as you can see its all new and everyday i am finding out something new. All i can say is THANK GOD for this website!


07-05-2004, 09:36 AM
Hi Kylie-Ann,
I had surgery in Aug 03, with a fusion from t-1 to L-2 (I think), anyway, I also had bone from my ribs taken for the fusion. I was however 43 at the time and not in my best shape, about 20 lbs overweight. I did start an exercise program before surgery and was walking 3 miles per day and I'm sure that helped alot. Since you are younger and may be in better shape it may not take you as long as me to get full steam back to work. I went to work in January, but started with 2-3 to 4 hour days, now at 11 months I've only increased to 3-4 or 5 hour days, I'm a touch frustrated with that as I expected to be able to return full time to work at about 6 months. It seems it is different for each person, some have gone back to work full time by them, but others seem to take between 1 and 2 years, at least that is what the Dr. is telling me. I am going to start a new physical therapy program in the next month or two and am hoping that will get me closer to 100%. The main problem for me isn't being tired, its just I wake up w/o much pain in my back, but after 4 to 6 hours of activity, then I'm pretty sore, and have to lay down or sit in a recliner for an hour, then I can do some more activity for another 2 hours or so. Also, I have my work days spread out, if I work too many days in a row then the pain kinda accummulates, and I get sore earlier. I may just be a bit of a wimp however. I would love to hear how long it took some of the others and even posted a question in this forum, but got only 1 response. Good luck and my prayers are with you, I think as you are younger and may not be having as long of fusion you may heal alot quicker.

07-05-2004, 12:44 PM
Kylie-Ann, I am looking forward to going back to work because I miss all my co-workers. The principal at my school is real understanding so I'm not worried about if I need to go lay now for a little while. But on the other hand, right now I go to bed around 10 pm and watch TV or read for a couple of hours then go to sleep and don't get up until 9 or 10 am in the morning. I really need that 10 to 12 hours of laying down every night. When I get up in the morning I walk nice and straight and as the day goes on I start hunching over. I have to be at school by 7:30 am so I'll be getting up around 5:30 am and probably be going to bed not to long after I get home. Luckily, it's just my husband and I. Our daughter of 26 is getting married next month and will be living in Denver and our son of 19 will be in his second year at college. The doctor doesn't want me to do any physical theraphy until my bone graphs have grown some more. Theresa

07-05-2004, 01:14 PM

I didn't have a thoracoplasty because my rib hump is small (since my major curve was a lumbar curve).

It seems to me that doctors either do a lot of thoracoplasties, or practically none. When I meet someone who is very concerned about cosmetic issues, I always try to steer them to a surgeon who routinely performs thoracoplasty procedures.

For my first 3 weeks at home, I spent most of my time in bed. I got up to shower, use the bathroom, eat, and walk. I could only be up for about 30-60 minutes at a time. At 5 weeks post-op, I felt a lot better.


07-08-2004, 08:17 AM

I am pretty sure now that my surgeon is performing a thoracoplasty.. thanks for the info you posted - great reading! NOW I AM REALLY NERVOUS!!! The thought of them taking 2inches of 6 ribs as well as the spinal fusion makes my skin crawl. I had a terrible day today.. My little 4 year old daughter came and cuddled me and I am pretty sure I could feel a small hump on her back. I went into the bathroom and cried! I can live with it, but hey not my daughter. The thought of TJ having scoliosis made me ill. I am planning on taking her to my next surgeons appointment to see what he thinks.

THanks again linda