View Full Version : Preparing for surgery

07-07-2004, 05:22 PM
Hi Everyone!

My name is Christina and I am a 25 yr old Female from Indiana. My scoliosis was caught when I was 11 yrs old by the school nurse. I was initially seen at the Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis, MO. The diagnosis, Idiopathic Scoliosis. They treated me there from the age of 11 till I was 21. I was put in a Boston brace for a yr, but discontinued on my own because the curve progressed. When I first went, they measured the curves at upper 43 and lower 32. After wearing the brace for a yr, (23 out of 24 hrs a day) I measured 51 upper and 32 lower. Big change in upper curve, huh? So you see why I took that uncomfortable thing off. When I was 13 they did a Bone Scintigraphy to check for Osteoid Osteoma. No evidence of that though. Surgery was discussed a few times, but they thought I would grow out of it since I was still growing. My final visit I was measured at 56 upper and 40 lower. That was in 1999. Now 5 yrs later, I have decided to have the surgery.

I e-mailed Connie for the list of questions to ask the doctor, and she replied very quickly. That was before her surgery. When I went to the doctor, I asked him every single one! You can never know too much. :D

Now the wait is on. It will be sometime in Sept. 2004, but I do not know the exact date yet.

If anyone has any suggestions as to what I can do to prepare myself, and my home before the surgery, I would be so grateful.

God Bless!

07-07-2004, 06:29 PM
hi, christina!

pjo posted a great answer to your question re: preparing for surgery; it's under "surgery at 55". also, you might read "scoliosis surgery: the definitive patient's reference" by david k. wolpert. it is a very, very good book; i bought it on amazon. i will say the ONE thing i've done so far is legal paperwork like the directive to physicians, medical power of attorney (so my husband can sign off on procedures if i can't), and an updated will. we should have these things anyway, but thinking about major surgery put some urgency around getting our legal house in order. now if i could only get started on the kitchen....

good luck to you...i'm confirmed for surgery on sept. 15th myself. it's going to be a big month, isn't it?

07-07-2004, 08:33 PM
Hi there, Christina,

My name is Laura, I'm 28, and think I will have to have surgery also. My numbers are 46 top and 30 bottom, but progressing. Is there any chance I could get Connie's list of questions from you ready for when I meet the surgeon in early September? I would be really grateful.

Can I ask, what did your surgeon tell you about recovery times? I saw a surgeon in Philadelphia last year who said around 3 weeks... sounds pretty optimistic... my family lives far away so I would have to arrange for help during the recovery time...

Anyway, would love to hear how you are getting on, you are the closest in age I've seen on the site and it would be great to be in touch. My email is lrmb24@hotmail.com if you feel like talking.

Thanks for any help, and also to everyone on the forum for the virtual support--it's helping me get through the decisions one day at a time...


07-08-2004, 08:07 AM
Hi Christina and Laura

I am 34 and my surgery is in October and I agree with you - its good having the support of everyone on this forum... I go to bed everynight feeling a little more positive (well most of the time)

Christina, I noticed you are havign a Thoracoplasty as well. My surgeon wants me to have it but everyone says it is really painful. What have you heard?? I am a little nervous about the recovery for both the thoracoplasty adn the spinal fusion.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Take care


Surgery October 14 2004
T7 - L4

07-09-2004, 12:55 PM
Kylie Ann & Laura,

Yes, I've heard it is very painful, but it will help take the pressure off the heart and lungs from what i've heard. Also cosmetic reasons. If you have a noticeable rib hump, this will correct that natural curve look to your back. My surgeon said that he will also be able to use the ribs for the bone graft. Which means one less cut on my body :D I will be braced for 3 months following surgery so that it gives the ribs and fusion time to heal without alot of movement. I'm not to happy about wearing another brace, but if it helps, i'm all for it.

As for recovery time, my surgeon told me that I would only be in the hospital for 4-5 days then I could go home as long as there are no complications. (i.e. infection, high temp, and so on) He also said that in 2-3 weeks I could resume some normal activities. Walking, going to school, that sort of thing. All in all, he said give it a good 4 months to get back to almost normal. But i'm sure everyones recovery will be different. The good thing that we have going for us it that we are still young. This helps out with healing and recovery time.

Everyone is right. If I hadn't found this forum, I wouldn't be having my surgery in Sept. The support from everyone is overwhelming. It's good to hear the good and bad from others that are going through the same things we are. I thank God for finding you all.

God Bless!

07-28-2004, 12:17 AM
I am so glad to have found this site. All of you are definately going through the same thing as me. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one and that no one else understands at all what I'm dealing with. I just scheduled my surgery yesterday for November 2. I am 32 and have 4 children. When I was 10 I was diagnosed with scoliosis and the curvature started out somewhat less. I was 42 and 40 and now has gotten somewhat worse. I wore a Milwaukee brace for 2 1/2 years, which stabilized my curvature, but they still wanted to do surgery. That wasn't something that my parents and I even really discussed. I guess none of us wanted to even consider it at all back then. The doc that I went to back in April told me that my spine has a 90% probability of getting worse. Now how's that for a sobering thought!!! Anyhow, I decided that, considering the future and the fact that I have pain frequently, I should have the surgery. I am terrified though. As I am sure that each of you are, or at least can relate. I have never had surgery or even a broken limb. I have no idea what is to come as far as the surgery is concerned. Maybe we can all support one another through the next few months with words of encouragement and just by listening. Hope to hear from some of you. I sure could use it!!!

07-28-2004, 12:28 AM
Hello Dawn

Glad you found this forum! We all look for support outside our own family - and this is where you are going to get it!!

Like you I am 34 and have 2 children so if you have any concerns with looking after the children - I will be going through the same thing. If you need to talk you can email me kahaynes@dragons.com.au

I have booked my surgery for October 14 and I have already started to work out who will be caring for my children in the weeks after the operation. My husband is in radio and leaves for work at 4.30am so I need someone to stay each night just in case the children wake up and need to be picked up for lots of cuddles - know what I mean??? I want to make sure all that area is all worked out!

LOve to hear from you!

Take care


Surgery October 14 2004
T7 - L4

07-28-2004, 10:53 AM
Hi all,

I thought I would pop in to tell you that I have been through the surgery (twice, actually) and am happy to share any advice/information I can.

I am 32 years old. In January of this year I had anterior fusion/instrumentation (T-5 to T-12; 45 degree curve). I was in the hospital for 5 nights (4 nights in ICU) and was out of the office for 6 weeks (but working from home after 3 weeks). Seven weeks after surgery it was discovered that two of the screws that had been implanted were "unscrewing" and I lost about 50% of the correction that the surgery had initially achieved. There was really no explanation for it (although I was told that when that happens, although rare, it does so at the top levels--as it did in my case). After much discussion and consultation (and getting a second opinion from one spine surgeon and having phone consultations with two others), it was decided that we would remove the old hardware and re-do the procedure posteriorly (and do a thoracoplasty). That was in March of this year. I spent 4 nights in the hospital (3 in ICU) and was out of the office for 4 weeks (but working from home after two weeks).

I agree with Sue's post about getting Dave Wolpert's book. I found it very helpful. Also, I gave it to my mother (who was going to be taking care of me post-surgery) and she found it very informative.

I could go on and on about the experience (deciding to have the surgery, choosing a surgeon, the hospital experience, coming home, getting back to "normal" etc.) but it might be easier to respond to specific questions, if you have them.

(Oh--and I feel great at more than 4 1/2 months post surgery #2.)

Best of luck to all.


07-29-2004, 12:49 AM

I just want everyone to know that I revised my questions and they look great , If anyone wants a copy , just ask''...also I'm looking for question that pertain to Anterior surgery..I had posterior, so my questions delt with that,,and I want the list to be versatile.......,I told everyone about when my doctor saw my questions he wrote in my file that "patient came in with a zillion questions today" ..It is only 3 pages long....

10-14-2004, 04:05 PM
Hi my name is Leyda and I'm 26. Can you send me that list of Q's. My visit is tomorrow and I am really nervous.
Good Luck to you

10-15-2004, 07:09 PM
Connie, could I please get a copy of your list of questions? My mother-in-law is a nurse and has told me to ask a lot of questions, but never having had any type of surgery or ever really been in a hospital, I have no idea what to ask!


10-15-2004, 10:44 PM
I don't mind sending 1questions, I just need U 2 email me at lhaber5@comcast.net...They are detailed from months of research, but only pretain to posterior scoli surgery.