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View Full Version : Surgery in April. More questions



Cimbom
02-16-2009, 06:24 AM
Hi all. Not sure if any of you remember but I posted a few months back. Anyway, a quick update. I saw my surgeon recently and have set a date for the surgery (April 27). I will have my pre-op appointment on March 28 to confirm everything. I just have some more questions.

- I did one of those x-rays where they check how flexible your spine is. It looked quite good. My surgeon said that he thinks I will get a "near perfect correction" although he didn't want to specify anything further. I'm 23 years old and currently have a 46 degree curve. I will be fused from T12 to L4. I was just wondering what kind of a correction would be realistic to expect? The appearance aspect of the scoliosis is what bothers me the most at the moment (I don't get much pain or anything) and I would be pretty disappointed I guess if I go through this major surgery without a significant physical improvement. I'd really like to be able to wear all the nice stuff I haven't been able to so far :)

- I was also wondering about the post-op brace. How thick and restrictive/painful is it? I'm thinking to buy some nice tracksuits to wear during recovery and was wondering whether I'd be able to wear my current size or if the brace would be too thick, requiring me to go up one size? What have been the general experiences with post-op bracing?

- I have also heard about a lot of people who get taller after having the surgery. I'm about 5'3" or 4" currently. Would I get much taller than this?

- When did most people feel confident to do things on your own like catching a train, walking around, getting in/out of a car, etc?

- Lastly, I'm pretty frightened about turning into sort of a robot after surgery where I won't be able to do much and walk around in a stiff manner. Is this likely? I would really love to be able to take dance classes or something like that after surgery (after working out, etc firstly) but not sure whether I'd have much flexibility around my hip area. It's currently pretty useless (to move my hips side to side) so I'm guessing it's ambitious to expect it to improve after surgery?

Sorry for the long post. Thanks so much in advance :)

LynnMarie74
02-16-2009, 08:48 AM
[QUOTE=Cimbom;71469]Hi all. Not sure if any of you remember but I posted a few months back. Anyway, a quick update. I saw my surgeon recently and have set a date for the surgery (April 27). I will have my pre-op appointment on March 28 to confirm everything. I just have some more questions.

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Hello Cimbom! I dont recall your last post, but thats okay! I will try to give you some answers, as I had some that were the same & Im newly fused as of Jan 14th of this year! Memories are very fresh in my mind!

1- You mentioned the Bending xrays...which show correction when you bend to either/both sides. I believe that the better correction in those, helps them guess on your correction from the surgery. My bending xrays were good..I got a 50% correction when bending. After my surgery both curves are now about 10% from 60--so much better than expected! I have a question....is your surgeon telling you that you need this surgery? If you are not in pain or ever were, depending on progression, maybe you can hold off? If you are only in it for "physical reasons", I would say not to have the surgery. Trust me, I can relate to your desire to have a "normal womans body" w/curves that are where they should be. Ive had to hide my "deformities" for years! My body now is what it should be, which is nice, but I def. would not have gone thru this just for appearance sake...just MY opinion of course...you will need to do whats in your heart. :)

2- Your fusion would be a smaller amount than mine & I was not braced. I dont think "they" brace THAT often, depends on what your Doc says. I cant help w/this one, sorry!

3- Ahhh, growth after surgery! lol I was curious about this as well once apon a time...lol...Yes, you will probably pick up a little height. I was expecting more w/mine but I only picked up an inch to an inch & half! Better than nothing I guess. Depends on correction, etc.

4- Im 4 weeks post op & I finally now can do more things . For example I can now get in & out of a car. I cant drive yet tho! Ive been shopping at Target & the mall & have been out to eat a couple of time w/no issues. I go for my 6 week post op check up (really more like 7 1/2 wks tho) March 5th. Im sure they will let me know more then!

5- You say your fusion would start at L4..like mine...which is nice as you have one free vertabrae before your sacrum. Stopping at t12 is good too..mine ends at t4..which is higher up. You will be limited but you certainly will not be like a robot! lol I only laugh becuz that is EXACTLY what I was worried about! Your questions are so much like mine were....so this is easy for me to answer! You just have to relearn how to do things...as Im finding out. Im pretty much self suffiant as of now...like I said before. I can shower myself, wash my own hair, get dressed, etc. Of course its taking me longer, but thats to be expected. If something falls to the floor I ask for help or get my "grabber" tool. Im sure I will learn more"moves" at my post op check or Phycial Therapy. Its def. different BUT you will be ok. My doc said if Im doing good at the postop, he will lift my restricions & I can do what I want after 4 months! We shall see............

if you have anyother questions, you can email me at lynnz@wi.rr.com OR send me a private message thru this site!! :) GOOD LUCK!

Lynn

fierceliketiger
02-16-2009, 10:41 AM
Here are my experiences:
1.) I am 23. My curves was progressive REALLY quickly and had reached around 75 degrees for both. They had also started twisting. My surgeon didn't want to guesstimate how much correction they could get because I have ligamentus laxity, so the amount they could stretch my spine was questionable (as to how much further than normal). The laxity ended up helping immensly and they REALLY cranked on it...leaving me with a near perfect correction. I am fused from the pelvis to t-10. The "deformities" definitely decreased. But if your curve is not progressing, and you aren't having pain, are you only doing this for the appearance? I would think about it a lot...I ended up having a shoe lift on one side, built onto the outside of my shoes because when they straightened me out they determined one of my legs had compensated for the curve during puberty by not growing. Trust me, that is not fashionable either...

2.)I was braced...still am. I'd say for pants you should be fine, since your brace usually goes over your pants. Most of my shirts didn't end up fitting, mostly because I went from a petite to a tall in shirts. haha. But you will want some thin, semi-long shirts to go under your brace. As for over it...I guess it depends on what kind of brace you have. I have a tlso with a metal bar between the breasts and a metal plate on the top of my chest (for increased cervical pressure...according to my surgeon). It also straps over my shoulders. Frankly, its pretty impossible to wear much over it. I wear my jacket over it when I go out, I tried hoodies, but they end up snagging on my velcro straps, and you can see the points of the brace under it. Its not really super thick, but it does add bulk, so if you really want to wear an open track jacket over it i'd go with a bigger size. As for closing it...I suppose it depends on what kind of brace you have.

3.) I grew a lot. They attribute it to my huge amounts of laxity in my spine. they said they just pulled as much as the laxity would allow...so I gained somewhere between about 4 and a half inches. This isn't the case for most people, I was told I would only gain 1 maybe 2 inches....but they didn't expect the amount of laxity I had.

4.) I wasn't allowed to leave the house until the 6 week mark. Definitely no riding in a car until then. Getting in and out of cars is still a little rough...especially low cars...but that is mostly because I HAVE to wear the brace in the car. I was pretty active inside though. My surgeon told me to get a treadmill, because I needed to walk a LOT. He wants me to walk 10 to 15 miles a day, but thus far I am only up to 7. I haven't found anyone else that has been told to walk that much though. I think it did help, because I can walk outside longer than I think I would have been able to without it. But, I also ended up with a shoe lift on one side...and uneven ground really throws me, even walking on semi-uneven ground tires me out in a few minutes. Just being out makes me more exhausted than walking 3 times the amount inside.
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5.) Right now (a little over 2 months out), I call myself a hamster. Basically all I do is eat, sleep, and walk on the treadmill (my wheel). I don't think it will be that way forever. And I can still move my hips way more than I assumed I would, and I am fused down further than you will be. I would imagine after the recovery time...which can be pretty extensive...you would probably be cleared for a dance class.

Hope that helps. :o

Singer
02-16-2009, 11:46 AM
Hey Fierce -- how in the world can you walk that much?? Are you sure the surgeon didn't say 10-15 miles a WEEK?? It took me a year to work up to 3 miles a day and I feel extremely virtuous doing THAT, LOL. You'll be ready for a triathalon by summertime!

fierceliketiger
02-16-2009, 01:26 PM
Positive. I went for my 6 week checkup only walking 5 miles a week, and he said "thats good, keep going". lol. Its rough though, and sometimes I have to take a day or two off, especially on pt days. I always get exhausted on those days.

Cimbom
02-16-2009, 04:20 PM
Thanks for your so posts so far.

Regarding the surgery, I saw two surgeons and both of them recommended that I have the surgery. They said that it is already significant and although I may not have much pain, it is almost certain to progress as I get older. They said it would be better to have it now while I'm young and can recover easier.

Also, I'm currently wearing a heel lift inside my shoes. There is a 1.5cm difference between my legs and I wear either a .4cm or .6cm heel lift depending on the style of shoe. I didn't want to get the ones that are attached onto the bottom of the shoe. Not sure how much this would change.

With regards to the brace, are they customised? I'll probably call my surgeon and ask if he's able to bring a sample to my pre-op appointment just to see what it looks like and how it'll fit, etc.

fierceliketiger
02-16-2009, 04:34 PM
My difference in leg length is now too big to wear a lift inside the shoe. :(
But, I am going to try a smaller lift for my wedding (in 96 days), to fit in a shoe. Do you have any suggestion as to where to get a lift for inside? I'm new to this shoe lift thing and I have no idea. I guess as close as I can get to a full 2cm, without stepping out of my shoe. lol
Braces are definitely custom, and should fit your body type. Are you having aanterior and posterior surgeries, or just one through the back? I had two, and got a "back in black" brace, which fit like a corset for the first one, and a tlso for the second. If you google tlso you can kind of see what they look like, if you can't find a great picture, I can send you a pic of mine...I have two different styles, one was made wrong, so it doesn't fit, but I can take a picture of it for you.
I totally understand the age thing. Even if mine had been progressing slower, I think they would have wanted to get it out of the way while I was fairly young. :-)

If you have any more questions that I might be able to answer feel free to pm me. :-) Its kind of nice finding someone in my age range, a shoe lift thing, and a relatively similar curve. :-)

Cimbom
02-16-2009, 04:48 PM
I got my heel lifts from an osteopath's clinic. I'm pretty sure most chiropractors, etc would also sell them. They don't recommend going much higher than a .6cm one for inside the shoe as it can be awkward. Worth a try though :)

LynnMarie74
02-16-2009, 05:21 PM
Yup-she is correct....check the phone book for your local orthopedic store...thats where I got mine. Seems all 3 of us have that in common. Stinks big time, doesnt it? Mine is 1/2 inch and fits nicely in my shoe w/o any troubles. Im over the fact Im lop sided...now I just need to get new shoes w/backs--guess I can kiss my beloved flip flops and strappy sandals goodbye! :(

fierceliketiger
02-16-2009, 07:16 PM
my fiance just found these:

http://www.feetrelief.com/feetrelief/clearly_adjustable_heel_lifts.htm

. How cool is that? You could adjust them to fit whatever shoe you are wearing...neato

LisaMS
02-16-2009, 07:30 PM
- I did one of those x-rays where they check how flexible your spine is. It looked quite good. My surgeon said that he thinks I will get a "near perfect correction" although he didn't want to specify anything further. I'm 23 years old and currently have a 46 degree curve. I will be fused from T12 to L4. I was just wondering what kind of a correction would be realistic to expect? The appearance aspect of the scoliosis is what bothers me the most at the moment

I also had good side-bending x-rays--I was corrected from 57 to 24 degrees on a lumbar curve.

I agree with LynnMarie, I wouldn't have this done for just physical reasons--it's so invasive and there are serious risks. But you should do it if it's worth it to you and your surgeons recommend it.

- I was also wondering about the post-op brace. How thick and restrictive/painful is it? I'm thinking to buy some nice tracksuits to wear during recovery and was wondering whether I'd be able to wear my current size or if the brace would be too thick, requiring me to go up one size? What have been the general experiences with post-op bracing?

- I have also heard about a lot of people who get taller after having the surgery. I'm about 5'3" or 4" currently. Would I get much taller than this?

I gained an inch and a half, back to my height of 5' 3" in my 20's.

- When did most people feel confident to do things on your own like catching a train, walking around, getting in/out of a car, etc?

I rode in a car after 2 weeks, but not often until 4 or 5 weeks. Walking outside felt good after 4 weeks or so.

- Lastly, I'm pretty frightened about turning into sort of a robot after surgery where I won't be able to do much and walk around in a stiff manner. Is this likely? I would really love to be able to take dance classes or something like that after surgery (after working out, etc firstly) but not sure whether I'd have much flexibility around my hip area.

I'm fused from T8 to L3 (he thought he'd have to do L4 or even L5, but luckily didn't). I'm pretty flexible in the hips--even danced recently and didn't feel like a robot!

Hope that this info helps. I wish you the best!
Lisa

LisaMS
02-16-2009, 07:36 PM
Whoops! Forgot one:

- I was also wondering about the post-op brace. How thick and restrictive/painful is it? I'm thinking to buy some nice tracksuits to wear during recovery and was wondering whether I'd be able to wear my current size or if the brace would be too thick, requiring me to go up one size? What have been the general experiences with post-op bracing?

My surgeon had me wear a brace for 12 weeks (but I started weaning off it at 9 weeks). I still wear it in the car. It's not very thick or restrictive, but it is obvious that you're wearing something. It's a metal frame with pads on the chest, lower stomach, and back. The straps went around the back, through the back pad. I wore a cotton close-fitting shirt underneath the brace, and a long-sleeved shirt over the brace. I wore the brace on top of my pants--it didn't stay inside. My straps were adjustable, so I could wear the brace over a sweater or something.

CHRIS WBS
02-17-2009, 09:30 AM
guess I can kiss my beloved flip flops and strappy sandals goodbye! :(

LOL! Iím sorry Lynne, I donít mean to laugh, but you cracked me up this morning. No one could love shoes more than me. I am IMELDA MARCOS II. I donít have the leg length discrepancy like you, but with a fusion to the sacrum, I donít have the same balance I had before surgery and my body cannot twist anymore. I donít think I will ever be able to wear all my strappy sandals and high-wedge shoes unless I want to risk a serious fall. Iíve tried out some of my slides on my bedroom carpeting and they just donít give me the security I now need. It pains me to look at all my pretty shoes only to realize that I will have to get rid of them. Maybe I can sell them on eBay. Iím sick of the loafers and ballet flats Iíve been wearing the past few months. And when the warmer weather arrives, Iíd prefer to slip my nicely pedicured feet into a sexy sandal instead of an unflattering and boring Birkenstock. Cheer up. Youíve got plenty of company.

Cimbom
02-17-2009, 09:51 AM
Has anyone tried out the clear heel lifts? I wonder how they look when used with backless shoes. I guess it'd be the same as wearing one the same colour as the shoe?

http://us.st12.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.com/I/yhst-77503485839888_2036_867101