View Full Version : Polio and very weak legs and arms: what can I spect after a fusion?

05-04-2008, 11:13 AM
I am 63 and had polio at 8. Had a thoracic fusion -no rods- at 16 that finally started curving so that now I have about 90 and an unestable lumbar area.
I have NO pain at all but my lung capacity is reduced about 50%.

My doctor wants me to have another fusion, but I fear that due to my very weak legs -I can only walk a few steps- after the fusion I will be nearly unable to move. Now I can drive my car and have a peaceful live but am uncertain about my life after a second fusion.

After reading your posts here I see that most of you with normal strenght, after the fusion become very limited and takes a long time to get "normal". I suspect that in that time my poor muscles could become even worst than they are and become completelly paralized.

Anyone of you with very weak limbs have suffered a fusion?

Chihuahua Mama
05-04-2008, 04:37 PM
RGB - my limbs are normal strength so I don't have the same challenge you do, but since you are unsure about what this surgeon is telling you, I wouldn't settle for less than 4 or 5 opinions before making your decision. I personally have consulted 5 of the best surgeons in L.A. and you wouldn't believe the difference's I have encountered. I'm not sure where you are located, but Iif I were you I would want to know I had the best doctors on my side, and a doctor that understood polio.

Good luck to you!

loves to skate
05-04-2008, 08:50 PM
Excellent advice from Chihuahua Mama about finding a Dr. who understands Polio. But good luck with that, because most young Dr.'s today have never even seen a case of Polio. My husband had Polio when he was 16 and most of the Dr.'s he has seen lately are all younger than he is (69) and therefore have not seen many cases of Polio from our generation. Do you fall in the catagory of Post-Polio Syndrome? If so, Google Post Polio and you should be able to find some help there. Also, you could consult with a Physiatrist, a Physician who treats Post Polio Syndrome. Here is a link that might help you.
My heart goes out to you. I hope you can find the help you need.

05-05-2008, 12:35 PM
Many thanks to "Chihuahua Mama" and "loves to skate". I live in Spain and here it is even more difficult to find polio related scoliosis doctors.

I will follow your advise and seek for more opinions abut my problem.

By the way, have you any respiratory problems, for instance when you get a cold? Can you cough strong enough?

07-23-2008, 09:17 AM
Hello RGB

I had polio when i was 2 yrs old (i am 39 now). I am able to drive, work, and get around on my own, pretty much a normal life. My curve was a little over 100%, and x-ray shows it pushed a little bit into my lung. I noticed the short of breath, heart palpitation but no pain. Only minor ache if i over do it, but i was not on medication for pain, not even a tylernol.

I opted to have surgery because if i waited too long, i might not be a candidate and my quality of life will decline.

I had surgery 5 weeks ago, not sure how long i was fused, but i remembered it started at T4 to L-something (i will find out). I had an A/P with a rib remove for bone graft, i was in the hospital for about a week and transfered to Rehab where i stayed for 24 days (i am not able to get around yet, and insurance denied my request to stay in rehab for another week or so, i am now recovering from home).

I am now able to walk a few steps with a walker, getting out of bed is tough, log roll is tough as it's hard to take your hip/leg with you when you lack muscle. At first, i need a lot of help with rolling, but 5 weeks later, i am able to manage with a bit of a struggle and very little help.

Walking is also a bit painful, i am not sure about you, but polio left me one leg shorter than the other and therapist is concern walking will hurt the fusion, but my surgeon OK'ed it.

If you are concern, talk to your surgeon, discuss rehab, acute care and any sort of care you might need while you recover at home. Therapy is a big help, get up on your feet as soon as possible to wake up and strengthen those muscle you had prior to surgery.

I wish you the best of luck, and please feel free to let me know if you have questions, i will be happy to share my experience with you.