View Full Version : Surgery Expectations.

02-04-2009, 04:59 PM
Hi, My name is Lindsey I am 20 years old and have had scoliosis since I was 12. I have wore a brace since I was 12 and finally got taken out of it at the age of 16. I am scheduled to go see Dr. Bridwell in St. Louis I was curious if anyone on here as had surgery done by him? Also, I am a little nervous what to expect with the surgery and other complications that go a long with it. I was wondering you guys might tell me a little about what you went through.



02-04-2009, 05:37 PM
I had my surgery done in Toronto, so I can't tell you about the doctor. Sorry.

as for the surgery itself, everyone is different.

My story:
I had my spine fused at 13. C5 to L3.
I had to be at the hospital at about 5 am, then the surgery (I don't remember), then I woke up... they took a tube out of my neck. I was out of ICU after 8 hours (though 24 hours in usually more typical).

Next day(day 2)... they woke me up. Sat me up. And as I was in so much pain sitting they decided to brace me. Some people don't require after surgery bracing, but some do.

Day 3, Had the brace. They got me up walking. Off morphine drip. Taking codeine pills.

Day 4, walking up stairs. Starting to feel more normal, and aware of my surroundings.

Day 5, had xrays. and more walking.

Released first thing day 6.
Then slept all day.

02-04-2009, 11:50 PM
Thank you that kind of gives me some idea. How are you doing now today after having surgery? My whole worry is the recovery and the pain afterward and everything. If you don't mind me asking how old were you when you had it done.

02-05-2009, 02:43 AM
I also had my surgery in Toronto 7 weeks ago. I am 25 years old and was diagnosed at 16. I didnít have severe curves - 37 degrees at the top and 21 degrees at the bottom - but I had a significant rib hump that was progressing every year. I was very self conscious and hated that clothes didnít fit me properly. Plus, I always felt uncomfortable, like I was off balance. In addition, the pain I was experiencing was getting worse as well so I decided after careful consideration to have surgery. 
Iím not going to sugar coat it for you: it was more painful than I expected (I didnít know what to expect, really) and, in fact, it was the worst pain I have ever experienced. That being said I donít regret it for a minute - it was the best decision I ever made.
The morning of the surgery I arrived at the hospital and went through the typical admission stuff (blood work, etc.), and then I was able to wait on a bed with my family for a few minutes. Then a nurse came and wheeled me into the operating room and hooked me up to an IV. Then next thing I remember is waking up in my hospital bed feeling really thirsty! I also had a sore throat for a few days after from the breathing tube they used during surgery. The first night I could barely move and I worried about lying on my incision for so long. This might be TMI but I had a drainage tube in the incision and a catheter for about 2 and a half days which I wasnít told about before the surgery. By the second night I could move from side to side very slowly and with a lot of pain. They removed the morphine drip the second day and replaced it with morphine tablets that were administered by a nurse every few hours. Sitting up was the most uncomfortable experience and I couldnít do it at all until the third day and even then only for a few minutes at a time. On day three I got out of bed and went to the washroom and back with a walker. By the fourth day I was able to have a shower with the help of a nurse but I got extremely tired after about 10 minutes of being out of bed and had to lie down. I went home on the sixth day, after the doctor was able to see that I could get in and out of bed without twisting my body and that I could walk up and down a flight of stairs by myself. The car ride was very uncomfortable and the first night at home was awful. I switched to oxy contin every 12 hours and percocet every 4 hours. I think the combination of being in a different bed and being on different medication was hard on my body because for the first couple of nights I woke up in tears from the pain. I made sure to get out of bed every day and walk around for a while even when I didnít feel like I could and I think that contributed to my fast recovery. I lost about 15 pounds which wasnít good because Iím small to begin with. I had absolutely no appetite up until the fourth week. It was important for me to get off the oxy contin as fast as I could because I was worried about becoming dependent. It took me two tries because every time I so much as missed taking it by an hour I would feel terrible. Itís a very difficult feeling to describe but I was in pain, I was uncomfortable, depressed, emotional and nauseous. I managed to get off it by the third week though. After about a week at home I was able to shower by myself but I needed a chair until the third week. I think the turning point for me was week six. By then I could do just about everything I could before surgery and I wasnít in constant pain. I returned to night school three times a week (although I donít usually stay for the full class), driving got easier and I had more energy. Iím not back to work yet as I still canít sit for long periods of time and I have a hard time doing the long commute. However, I feel better every day and I canít believe the progress Iím making. One last thing: my scar is healing incredibly well. Everyone that has seen it is amazed at how thin and neat it is. It runs along the entire length of my spine and is a light reddish color. My surgeon said it should blend in with the rest of my skin tone in a few months as long as I donít expose it to sunlight, and eventually it will be barely noticeable at all. I hope this information is helpful to you - when I went for my surgery I didnít know anyone who had had it and I didnít know what to expect. Good luck!

02-05-2009, 01:25 PM
Thank you so much that really seems to give me an idea. The worse part about mine is waiting until February 23 to go to St. Louis for my appointment. I should technically still have two years before I should go up there for my 3 year evaluation. But, I am in so much pain and on muscle relaxers and pain pills that I cant stand to do much. So, I am worried what they are going to tell me when I go.