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ScoliosisGal
08-11-2009, 07:26 PM
Has anyone had surgery for a 30 degree adult curve? Would a surgeon be willing to do surgery at this stage? I'm just very bothered by my appearance and wanting to do it for cosmetic reasons, also I'm afraid it will get worse later on if I do nothing and it would be easier for me to recover from surgery in my 20s than when I'm older.

Cimbom
08-11-2009, 08:15 PM
Hi ScoliosisGal,

I guess I was in a similar boat to you. However, before surgery my curves measured 46 degrees so I barely just qualified for surgery according to most surgeons. The common cut-off is 45 degrees but for some it's 50. Other criteria also comes in to it such as whether you have severe pain, whether your curves have progressed rapidly and whether they're likely to get worse. Although my main motivation was cosmetic, both surgeons I saw recommended I have surgery as they assessed there would be a 90%+ chance of it getting worse. So I decided to have the surgery now, while I'm still young (23), to get a better outcome correction and recovery-wise and also so I can enjoy the cosmetic improvement at my age.

That said, unless there was some serious mitigating factors, I'd guess that you will not find a reputable surgeon willing to operate on someone with a 30 degree curve. It's a very serious surgery and that's generally the criteria that's applied. However, I know how you feel about the appearance issue and it is something that's tough to deal with. I'd suggest you see an orthopedic spinal specialist just to check on everything. Maybe you'll meet the criteria in the future. I wish you all the best. Try and stay positive :)

Pooka1
08-11-2009, 09:19 PM
Maybe Linda would know but I bet it is considered unethical to fuse you for a 30* painless curve.

That is, I think it might be malpractice for a surgeon to fuse you ONLY for cosmetic reasons. And I doubt you could find a top guy to do it.

ScoliosisGal
08-11-2009, 09:25 PM
Well I have pain as well but its not that bad. I don't see what the big deal is anyways, my curve will most likely get worse if I do nothing which is what most doctors recommend... do nothing until you are bad enough that you need surgery. I haven't even had kids yet... doesn't it get worse during pregnancy? Why wait until then.

LindaRacine
08-11-2009, 10:26 PM
Has anyone had surgery for a 30 degree adult curve? Would a surgeon be willing to do surgery at this stage? I'm just very bothered by my appearance and wanting to do it for cosmetic reasons, also I'm afraid it will get worse later on if I do nothing and it would be easier for me to recover from surgery in my 20s than when I'm older.

I seriously doubt that your insurance company would approve it, so you'd probably have to come up with $100,000-$200,000 to do it.

--Linda

LindaRacine
08-11-2009, 10:28 PM
Well I have pain as well but its not that bad. I don't see what the big deal is anyways, my curve will most likely get worse if I do nothing which is what most doctors recommend... do nothing until you are bad enough that you need surgery. I haven't even had kids yet... doesn't it get worse during pregnancy? Why wait until then.

Most of the times, curves that are 30 degrees at skeletal maturity, do not get worse. I met a woman a few weeks ago, whose curve of 34 degrees, has been that way for about 40 years.

Research from many years ago showed that, on average, curves don't increase any more during pregnancy than they do at other times.

--Linda

naptown78
08-11-2009, 10:45 PM
A 30 degree curve is very manageable with conservative measures such as PT, pain management, exercise, etc. I would not go through such a serious, I repeat , very serious surgery that is NOT guaranteed to decrease pain or cause any complications with a curve such as yours. Keep monitoring with xrays every year with an orthopedic surgeon. You may be surprised and not progress!!
Kristy

ScoliosisGal
08-11-2009, 11:13 PM
But my curve has gotten 5 degrees worse in the last three years. To me it seems unethical to just wait and see.

LindaRacine
08-12-2009, 12:38 AM
But my curve has gotten 5 degrees worse in the last three years. To me it seems unethical to just wait and see.
I suspect that it only seems unethical to you because you can't distance yourself from it. If this was someone else's issue, I doubt you would see it as unethical.

First, there's a 5 degree margin of error, so it's possible that your curve hasn't increased at all. Secondly, the majority of curves under 40 degrees at skeletal maturity will never increase to a surgical degree. So, I think most ethicists would say it was unethical to operate on you. And, as I mentioned earlier, most insurance company employees would never agree to pay for it should you find a surgeon willing to operate.

Having scoliosis sucks, especially in terms of what it does to our bodies. While I have always disliked how my torso looks, I've gotten over worrying about it. As you age, you'll hopefully discover that the relationships that count in your life, are the ones that aren't with people who would judge you by your imperfect body.

Regards,
Linda

Cimbom
08-12-2009, 01:41 AM
Great reply Linda, so true. I think at times us women tend to be our own worst critics.

To the OP, I think your best bet is to go and see a specialist and have your curve monitored over the coming years. In terms of appearance, I'm not sure what a 30 degree curve would look like exactly, but it can't be that difficult to disguise if that's what you want. I know that before surgery, I wore tops that were fitted up top and looser around the hips and these worked well. Experiment and see what works for you. Hope it all goes well for you.

jrnyc
08-12-2009, 04:04 AM
I sincerely hope your curve stops & never progresses...this is not surgery one does because of one's looks like a nose job or botox injections...this is something that is very serious & scary to those who have to decide whether to go through it for health reasons...due to pain & progression & effects on lungs & heart....

best of luck
jess

Pooka1
08-12-2009, 04:19 AM
Well I have pain as well but its not that bad. I don't see what the big deal is anyways, my curve will most likely get worse if I do nothing which is what most doctors recommend... do nothing until you are bad enough that you need surgery.

I agree with fusing earlier than the current trigger point of 50* but don't know how much earlier. Simply having scoliosis, even a sub-surgical curve, over time, seems to predispose folks to a panoply of other problems that can be painful enough to trigger surgery anyway down the road.

debbei
08-12-2009, 09:41 AM
Someone above gave really good advice--keep monitoring yourself by getting checked regularly. That was my mistake, I waited 25 years to go back and get checked.

Hopefully you will not progress. If my curves had stayed at 30, I never would have considered fusion. It's a last resort, in my opinion.

titaniumed
08-12-2009, 10:38 AM
Surgery is usually a last ditch effort. Especially with such an invasive surgery like scoliosis surgery. My surgeon was hesitant for a while and I actually had to beg. And I was a surgical candidate back in 1975!

Even with today's technology, there still is a chance that complications will occur. Complications that can trigger multiple surgeries in the future. These things weigh heavily on surgeons minds. Having a paralysis or even death on their record is something they will try to avoid at all cost. Patients also need to consider these things also.............I did, for 34 years.

Surgical candidates have to have all the correct parameters to succeed. If ones curve is too small or even too large, they will not be candidates. I was pushing things in the other direction and I'm glad I made my decision when I did.

Even if you fall into that area, its still extremely scary. I had a complication and lost my gall bladder, but it could have been quite a bit worse. It happens in 10% of us, but it still happened.

One of the benefits of having scoliosis is participating in ocean therapy to de-weight the joints. This therapy usually requires a dive trip to Kona. Doctors orders. Nobody believes me, but I have done the studies, and I will continue with my research on Aug 25th. I will dive every day for 3 weeks along the west coast of the big island. My joints will be in great shape after these dives.

Ed

Jimbo
08-12-2009, 10:44 AM
I can totally empathise with you ScoliosisGal. My degrees measure 34L & 38T. It is extremely frustrating being out of surgical range but still thinking that surgery should be an option, as I do. I also can understand about appearance related to scol, which is OFTEN pushed aside by Docs.

I bet if scoliosis was a lot more common in society, a curvature of 30 degrees would be a valid reason for surgery. Just because the degree is in the lower range does not invalidate that person’s fears and complications. It actually might enhance it, thinking that they will NEVER be fixed.

ScoliosisGal, the only thing one can say to ease your psychological pain related to the scoliosis is to say that you are not alone..

Keep in mind though that advances is spinal surgery are really gonna shoot up soon. I predict that spinal straightening will be a procedure as common as straightening teeth.

ScoliosisGal
08-12-2009, 03:35 PM
I think they should change the criteria for surgery because even a 30* curve causes imbalance and disturbance in gait which can lead to arthritis or joint problems later on. I have been told I have a swayback and a weird walk. I'm sure by the time I'm 50 I will have joint problems or arthritis even if my curve remains at 30.

Pooka1
08-12-2009, 07:06 PM
I also can understand about appearance related to scol, which is OFTEN pushed aside by Docs.

Not according to Herr Weiss who claims virtually all fusions are EXCLUSIVELY done ONLY for appearance.

This guy lives on some other planet despite being an orthopedic surgeon. I think his status as K. Schroth's grandson has clouded his thinking and forced him into some intellectually dishonest statements.

betty14
08-12-2009, 09:25 PM
I agree with fusing earlier than the current trigger point of 50* but don't know how much earlier. Simply having scoliosis, even a sub-surgical curve, over time, seems to predispose folks to a panoply of other problems that can be painful enough to trigger surgery anyway down the road.



You're saying that "simply having scoliosis, even a sub-surgical curve, over time, seems to predispose folks to a panoply of other problems that can be painful enough to trigger surgery anyway down the road"?

I'm confused about whether this is your personal belief/experience, or
if this is actually statistically true?

I have never heard before that non-fused scoliotic people with small curves have a greater number of orthopedic surgeries than non-scoliotic people.

B.

Bionic Woman
08-13-2009, 07:44 PM
Hi,
Personally, I waited until there was nothing else to be done and I couldn't hardly walk before I had my surgery. Yes, mine was visible if you really looked, however, the possibilities of complications involved is NOT worth doing it if you don't have to. What if the surgeon you have picked isn't a top notch as someone has already mentioned. Do you know the risks involved? Foot-drop is one, paralysis is another, if the screws are not placed properly and go into the spinal cord you could end up with severe leg/foot pain or paralysis. Now, none of us can tell you what to do, obviously, however, we CAN advise you and those of us who have had the surgery can tell you, it isn't a walk in the park! I'm 49 and just had my surgery 5 weeks ago. I went through pregnancy just fine in my early-mid 20's. So. There's my 2 cents worth:D Take it for what it is. If you decide to go through with it, best wishes and I'll be praying for you.
Debbie

Pooka1
08-18-2009, 09:10 AM
You're saying that "simply having scoliosis, even a sub-surgical curve, over time, seems to predispose folks to a panoply of other problems that can be painful enough to trigger surgery anyway down the road"?

I'm confused about whether this is your personal belief/experience, or
if this is actually statistically true?

I have never heard before that non-fused scoliotic people with small curves have a greater number of orthopedic surgeries than non-scoliotic people.

B.

The reason many/most adults have far longer recuperation periods after surgery is because they have many other ancillary issues.

The reason children are back in school a few weeks after surgery is they largely do NOT have these issues.

Per our surgeon when asked why the huge difference in recovery rates between kids and adults.

Combine that with the need of certain folks for surgery on sub-surgical curves for pain or instability associated with these ancillary condition. We have some testimonials on this site.

I am seeing our surgeon in a few days. I'll try to remember the ask the question directly about incidence of ancillary issues in sub-surgical scoliosis versus general population and rates of surgical correction for these other issues in each population.

My kid has a 36*-40* curve at least. Ask me if I thin it likely that her spine will be stable her whole life even if the curve doesn't progress. It seems highly unlikely... her various balances (sagittal, coronal, ec.) are way off. Isn't that highly contributory if not causative in these other issues?

CHRIS WBS
08-18-2009, 11:22 AM
I have a life-long friend who I saw a couple weeks ago when she was in from Florida visiting her family in Milwaukee. She has moderate scoliosis that never progressed. She carries one hip a little higher than the other, but besides that has no outward visible signs. Other than occasional bouts of sciatica during the past few years, she’s had a pain-free life and will turn 79 next month. I suspect too that her life-long slim build has worked to her advantage.

jrnyc
08-19-2009, 01:06 AM
Just a note..slim all my life, my curves progressed in the last 5 years, since i herniated discs (which is REALLY easy to do)....i am now down to 96 pounds, cause i cant eat due to pain meds...& i am STILL holding off on the surgery...what i am saying is being thin has not helped my back in any way that i can see....for about 25 years, my curves must have progressed very slowly & caused no pain at all... & i would never have the surgery without it being the last resort..which it is getting to be now!! and i have also developed the added problems of arthritis in my spine, degenerative disc disease, & spinal stenosis!

jess

kdsims
08-19-2009, 04:51 PM
Hi,im new here.Was just wondering in regaurds to being worried about how you look ,is it the rib hump that bothers you or the twisted look of your back?I had the harrinton rod implanted in the mid 80s and also had a rib resection. Im still twisted a bit and still have a rib hump.:( The operation has left me with more pain than I had befor and im not sure the rib hump looks much better than it did. I now have large scars to hide.Im not sure and havent seen anyone eles coment on it but if its the rib hump that bothers you most maybe they have come up with a better way of fixing that these days ???But than again if you curve is still progressing having the ribs fixed now may not be a option.Does anyone eles have thoughts on this? I found a good tatoo artist who covered my hip scar with a beautifull humming bird floating on some flowers.The scar gives the tatoo a bit of texture,looks much better than plain ugly scar.lol Anyway I wanted to add that most people dont care about what we look like on the outside,,,,Its whats on the inside that counts.I hope all works out for you..:D

ScoliosisGal
08-19-2009, 07:40 PM
My rib hump is fairly small. My large curve is lumbar so its the uneven hips plus undefined waistline that I hate.

LindaRacine
08-19-2009, 09:02 PM
The reason many/most adults have far longer recuperation periods after surgery is because they have many other ancillary issues.

The reason children are back in school a few weeks after surgery is they largely do NOT have these issues.

Per our surgeon when asked why the huge difference in recovery rates between kids and adults.


I'm not certain that I buy that. While complications will definitely add time to the recovery period, it seems to me that people without complications still usually recover much slower than children. I think it's got much more to do with the gradual loss of ability to regenerate cells as one ages.

--Linda

kdsims
08-19-2009, 09:38 PM
Yeah,I can understand that.It took a while for me to find things I could wear that didnt show my uneven hips,rid hump,scars and my shoulder blades poking out.Im am and allways have been very thin so you can see all of that if I wear the wrong thing.Some times its even hard to find pants that dont make one leg look shorter than the other.Now im 38 and kinda have gotton over it all.I have allways been very uneasy about my deformaties around new people.I do think its more just that it bothers me and most people seem to get over it quickly.My husband and our children do alot of water sport type things and thats when I really catch the looks but i know its just that people are currious and yes some will ask ,what happend to your back.I still have a 34 degree curve after having harrington rod.Its really not that hard to come to grips with the looks of it all,just have to get used to it.I kinda think of it as a teaching opertunity when someone asks about my back.I can also say it has not held me back in the public settings I get right out there...:D

Pooka1
08-25-2009, 05:45 AM
I'm not certain that I buy that. While complications will definitely add time to the recovery period, it seems to me that people without complications still usually recover much slower than children. I think it's got much more to do with the gradual loss of ability to regenerate cells as one ages.

--Linda

Very astute of you not to buy that!

I cleared this up with the surgeon. This time he mentioned your point about simply being older and the recovery rate due to that.

But when I earlier asked why the huge difference in recovery times he said because adults often have other issues.

As you have stated, adults in the general population have ~85% rate of back issues. At that time, I didn't realize the rate for the general population was 85% and mistakenly thought these other issues were due to simply have scoliosis over the years.

He said the rate of these other issues is not different in scoliotics... it is 85%. That is why he answered that adults have more complications but I mistook that to mean they were triggered by scoliosis.

I am convinced, despite my best efforts, that I have misrepresented plenty of what our surgeon has said. This is not my field and it shows. :(

I am going to put a disclaimer on every comment I make about what I think our surgeon tells me that isn't easily found in the literature.