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MaureenR
12-29-2008, 03:29 PM
I am a 60 year old woman with adult scoliosis. I have a double-curve of 78 degrees. (I have lost more than 4 inches of my height) I have been involved in various sports all of these years without difficulty, including horseback riding, long-distance swimming, downhill skiing, cycling, roller-blading and tennis. I have never had any surgery, but now am experiencing a loss of function in my right leg, that is beginning to severely hamper my lifestyle. I can still walk short distances, but it is beginning to get more and more difficult.

I have already consulted several experts and am familiar with the risks involved in the surgery. Presently I was told that I should proceed with the more minor disc surgery to deal with the leg pain and that I should postpone the more serious scoliosis surgery as a last resort. I am still ambivalent about proceeding with the major surgery, given the risks involved.

I would like to know if there are other high-functioning individuals in my age group who have had the major scoliosis surgery and have been able to resume different sports afterward. I would also appreciate hearing your thoughts and experiences following the surgery.

loves to skate
12-29-2008, 04:10 PM
Dear Maureen and welcome to the Forum,

I am 68 years old and one year post op. At 10 months post op, it was determined that fusion had taken place and my Doctor gave me permission to go back to my sport of roller skating on quads. He did say he did not want me skating on concrete or other hard surfaces, but that it was OK to skate on a wood surface. Most of the skating rinks in Massachusettes are wood floors. Before my surgery, he did tell me about one of his patients who had a longer fusion than mine and she went back to playing pairs tennis. He said no to downhill skiing, jogging and skydiving:D. No, I never did skydive, but I just had to ask him. I suffered with sciatic pain for four years and tried many non invasive treatments, and I can tell you from my experience that is no way to live. Surgery certainly is a personal choice and I am very happy that I found a great scoliosis surgeon and am very happy with the results even though I still have some residual pain. You will learn a lot from the people on this forum. This forum is a God send. I hope this helps you. Sally

CHRIS WBS
01-02-2009, 02:28 PM
Maureen, I wanted to reply to you because we are the same age (I will turn 60 this year) and my curvature was as severe as yours. The reality is severe curves only worsen and as you become more debilitated, you won’t be able to continue at your current high-functioning level. Besides the height loss and worsening pain and deformity, severe curves can impair internal organs. Prior to my surgery, I was on the cusp of losing bowel control as my severe lumbar curve was compressing my intestines, which I described in an earlier post. I very happily reported to my surgeon two weeks ago at my six-month post-op checkup that his surgical skills corrected my bowel problem. If you have been reading the posts here you will find several from people with severe thoracic curves who have experienced a loss of pulmonary function. As far as proceeding with the more minor disc surgery, my surgeon showed me x-rays of a 70-year-old woman he treated with a fusion similar to mine. This woman had four such minor surgeries by another surgeon before deciding she’d had enough and sought help elsewhere. Yes, this is a big major surgery and for some of us the decision-making process can be very daunting. I wrestled with this for three years but can honestly tell you that this surgery has changed my life for the better. I have a long fusion to the pelvis and perhaps other than swimming, I will never be able to engage in the types of activities you describe, but my functioning level has vastly improved and God-willing, I look forward to a healthier future. Chris

JenniferG
01-02-2009, 04:39 PM
I will be almost 58 when I have my surgery in March. I am fit and healthy, with very little pain but have lost 6 cm in height and have a thoracic curve of 66 degrees - back in June. Since then, I can feel it progressing and it's more and more obvious visually, as well. I suspect my curve is now over 70 degrees.

My surgeon told me that in 10 years it will be a very different story. I can expect to have a 90 degree curve, and a lot of pain. As scared of this surgery as I am, I don't want to be in that position. I have been lucky so far.

I know there are many risks and complications associated with this surgery but I have weighed up the chances of these against the surety of a crippled, painful life in 10 years, and I'm left with no choice.

Post surgery, I'll be reporting on my progress, if you are interested and are still around then.

Good luck!

txmarinemom
01-03-2009, 02:47 AM
... Presently I was told that I should proceed with the more minor disc surgery to deal with the leg pain and that I should postpone the more serious scoliosis surgery as a last resort. I am still ambivalent about proceeding with the major surgery, given the risks involved. ...

I would like to know if there are other high-functioning individuals in my age group who have had the major scoliosis surgery and have been able to resume different sports afterward. I would also appreciate hearing your thoughts and experiences following the surgery.

Maureen,

Although I'm younger than you, I can assure you I didn't feel it pre-op.

Where some people who have posted below swore they had NO pain, mine was only getting worse (a single 53° curve) - although my curve wasn't progressing.

My sport is softball (fast and slow pitch), and I started doing burst sprints at 4/5 months post op, and playing ball/sliding (both pop-ups and layouts) again at 7 months. 99.9% is attitude (Sally's my hero!), and it depends largely on what you did PRE-op. Just like during pregnancy, it's probably a bad plan to take up a new contact sport (and they can ALL be contact - LOL) POST-op.

My advice is get your body in the best shape possible before surgery ... and walk, walk, walk afterwards. If you love your sport(s) enough, you'll get there.

Regards,
Pam