View Full Version : Risk of having more pain after surgery?

03-06-2009, 11:33 PM
I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 19 years old. It was discovered because my back hurt all the time. I am now 24 years old and seriously considering the surgery. I went back to the surgeon several weeks ago to check on the progression of my spine. It is still a 52 degree curve and has not progressed any. However, the pain continues and I want to have the surgery done. The surgeon would fuse T5-T11. My curve is s-shaped, and he said that he would not do anything to the bottom part of the curve because it would fix itself some when the top part is fused.

My main questions is, how many people have become worse after having the surgery as an adult? My parents went to a chiropractor who sees adults who are in pain because they had scoliosis surgery as an adult. I know that an adult who had a successful surgery would not need to see a chiropractor, but what are the chances that I will be in more pain after having the surgery?

Also, how long does it take to return to normal daily activities after surgery?

03-07-2009, 12:41 AM
Hi Julie...

That's a question best answered by your surgeon, as outcome statistics are great, but unless your surgeon was party of the study from which the statistics come, they're relatively meaningless.

The Scoliosis Research Society published M&M statistics for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis surgery in 2006. Here's the summary:

RESULTS: Complications were reported in 5.7% of the 6334 patients in this series. Of the 1164 patients who underwent anterior fusion and instrumentation, 5.2% had complications, of the 4369 who underwent posterior instrumentation and fusion, 5.1% had complications, and of the 801 who underwent combined instrumentation and fusion, 10.2% had complications. There were 2 patients (0.03%) who died of their complications. There was no statistical difference in overall complication rates between anterior and posterior procedures. However, the difference in complication rates between anterior or posterior procedures compared to combined procedures was highly significant (P < 0.0001). The differences in neurologic complication rates between combined and anterior procedures, as well as combined and posterior procedures were also highly statistically significant (P < 0.0001), but not between anterior and posterior procedures. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that complication rates are similar for anterior versus posterior approaches to AIS deformity correction. Combined anterior and posterior instrumentation and fusion has double the complication rate of either anterior or posterior instrumentation and fusion alone. Combined anterior and posterior instrumentation and fusion also has a significantly higher rate of neurologic complications than anterior or posterior instrumentation and fusion alone.
I have known people who had more pain after surgery than before, but it's a relatively small number. But, if you're one of the people who has a bad outcome, statistics are meaningless.

At 20 years old, if you're average, your recovery should be relatively quick. Most are back to work or school (assuming there's nothing too physical), by 6-8 weeks post op.


03-07-2009, 02:54 PM
Thanks for the information. It was very helpful. My surgeon acted like pain after the surgery was unlikely, but I'm trying to find more information to back it up. He also said that I would probably be back to school in a month, but I wanted to double check that information as well.