View Full Version : Daughter Diagnosed with Scoliosis

Steve Barlow
10-22-2003, 06:05 PM
Can someone answer this. My daughter has a 50deg. thoracic curve and a 36deg lumbar curve. The Doctor said that he will not try and correct both curves, one only. Thus even after surgery she may have to wear a brace. Is this the norm or has anyone else had both curvatures worked on while doing the surgery.

10-22-2003, 11:14 PM
There are several reasons why your surgeon may be suggesting this, but I'm guessing it's because one of your daughter's curves (probably the lumbar curve) is compensatory, not structural.

This gets a bit confusing, but to keep it simple, sometimes curves in one part of the spine develop to counter-balance a curve in another part. Your daughter's case might be almost exactly like mine: I had a 49 degree thoracic curve that tilted right, while I had a 31 degree lumbar curve that tilted left. The surgeon only straightened the thoracic curve because straightening this caused the lumbar curve to straighten on its own. Even if the lumbar curve has some structural deformity in it, surgeons will try to avoid fusing the lumbar vertebrae if at all possible because these are the most important for maintaining bending flexibility.

Why your daughter would have to wear a brace after surgery is a mystery to me.

As an aside, if you questions like this, Steve, I'd strongly recommend you discuss them with your surgeon. If he's unwilling to spend some time discussing this with you, or if his answers aren't clear to you, you might want to consider finding another surgeon.


Steve Barlow
10-23-2003, 08:54 AM
Thanks Dave,
Reading where you mention compensatory, he did mention that. I feel that he agrees with what you are saying that if he fixes one curve, that it will compensate the other. However as I was telling my wife, I think he wants to give the worse case scenario just in case. He also mentioned the lumbar being used for flexibility and pretty much said what you say. That would be a last resort to do surgery on that. He was very willing to talk with us and impressive. I do think that we will probably go see one more surgeon before making a decision.

S. Barlow

10-24-2003, 10:43 PM
Hi Steve,

We are having the very scenario your doctor is warning you of. My daughter had the surgery on July 31 and was back in her brace 4 weeks later, much to our chagrin. She was fused from T6-L1, although her curve went as low as L4. Unfortunately, the bottom part didn't straighten out as much as the doctor had hoped. (She was 58 on top, 47 bottom before surgery, and 22 top and 35 after). 2nd surgery will be last resort, b/c of the same reasoning your doctor gave you about not fusing lower spine. Also, will set her up for degenerative arthritis later in life. She is now wearing her brace 14-16 hours a day, having physical therapy twice a week, and has a half inch lift in one shoe - all to try and "nudge" those last vertebrae into alignment with the rest of her spine. I must say, her lower curve is looking better now, so we are hopeful. I think the physical therapy has been the most helpful. Also, her lower curve is also scoliosis and not compensatory. She did have a compensatory curve above her fused area, which is much better now.

Hope this is helpful information to you.


Steve Barlow
10-25-2003, 05:07 AM
Thanks Judy,
We have a couple coming over to discuss their daughters surgery soon. I think we are going to go a head and get a third opinion before we make our decision as to what surgeon. Hopefully when that time comes, we will have made the best decision possible.


10-27-2003, 07:31 PM
Both of my curves were worked on at the same time...I had a rod placed in.

Steve Barlow
10-29-2003, 10:18 AM
Hey Tonya,
If I may ask, what degree curvatures did you have. Are you doing okay. How difficult was recovery? What type of mobility do you have? Was a brace required for a time after surgery?

Thanks, Steve

10-29-2003, 07:51 PM
My curves where 46* and 54*. Im doing great. Its been a year, one month, and 25 days. Recovery was hard, I'll admit. but as long as your daughter cooperates and her family supports her she will do fine. Dont rush recovery. Take it slow, her body will need MUCH time to heal. I did not have a brace. My curves were healed with the rod. Now Im back to my normal life. I can run, dance, bowl and swim like I used to. I know not to over do myself and I know my limits. Aches and pains WILL happen but only temporarly. I do not regret having the surgery it was definatley a life changer and I mature so much. If your daughter has an email or messenger I would love to stay in touch. PM me for any email or messenger info. :)