PDA

View Full Version : At what degree would you consider surgery



rich1752
09-20-2009, 09:54 PM
I am 38 years old and was just diagnosed with scoliosis last month. I have had back pain for a while now, but has gotten real bad the last five years. I have gone to doctors but they just kept giving me over the counter drugs and sent me on my way. I finally changed doctors and the new doctor had xrays done, where they uncovered a 48 degree curve between L1 and L5. I work in law enforcement, so I just contributed the back pain to my gun belt and sitting in car for ten hour shifts. Pain finally became unbearable, to where i changed doctors. I have tried everything in the past, chiropractors, physical therapy and shots. I've slept on a heating pad for the last five years, thinking it was just my muscles. When would you consider surgery. I don't want to go for a long time with this pain and would rather get some relief while I am young..thanks..

jrnyc
09-20-2009, 10:45 PM
Hi Rich

welcome to this forum...you can find alot of help here!

i would suggest you find a scoli specialist...a referral from your G.P would probably do it...the surgeons i go to tell me 40 degrees is when they consider surgery, depending on how much pain patient is in,... the rate of progression of curve(s)..etc...

what kind of "shots" have you had?

i hope you find your solution...i have 2 excellent surgeons i see in nyc, & if/when i have the surgery, one of them will perform it!

best of luck
jess

titaniumed
09-20-2009, 11:47 PM
Hi Rich

Welcome to the forum.

Making the decision to have scoliosis surgery will be the toughest decision you will ever make. It should be your own decision and only your decision based on very careful thought. Its not an emergency, so that will give you some time to ponder your decision. There are threads and posts all over NSF regarding the "decision making" process.

If surgery is in the cards, it would be beneficial for you to do a little reading. Linda Racine, our moderator has a website.

http://scoliosislinks.com/

A little quiz.

http://scoliosislinks.com/ShouldYouHaveSurgery.htm

We know the pain your in. Sitting in a car all day must be brutal! You might want to switch to a Doc Holliday style holster. LOL Just kidding.

There are lists of qualified scoliosis trained orthopedic surgeons on Linda's site, where are you located?

Regards
Ed

Jimbo
09-21-2009, 05:22 AM
Hey Rich, my lumbar degree is 45, and I am getting surgery soon. 45 degrees is about as much as i can take. However, other people seem to be able to cope quite well with much larger curves.

I also tried chiro, pt with minor pain relief. That was also a major decision to get the surgery.

If your curve is progressing though, the decision is much easier.

rich1752
09-21-2009, 10:35 AM
quick question, after doing research on surgery, I am still a bit confused. I have a dumb question. Do they recommend different surgeries depending on the location of the curve? I have a lumbar curve and am wondering if they will recommend a fusion or rods. I have had 3 xrays done, MRI done, Nerve Test done in the last two weeks. I finally see the specialist this Thursday who will sit down with all the results. But I got to read the report on the MRI and it said that I have a 48 degree curve between L1 and L5. Any information would be appreciated.. I hate this pain and finally found out the cause, which is refreshing and scary at the same time. I really feel that this curve has progressed dramtically in the last year. Ive lost 2 inches in height, but just thought it was because of my age (38years old).....thanks everybody..

debbei
09-21-2009, 11:05 AM
quick question, after doing research on surgery, I am still a bit confused. I have a dumb question. Do they recommend different surgeries depending on the location of the curve? I have a lumbar curve and am wondering if they will recommend a fusion or rods. I have had 3 xrays done, MRI done, Nerve Test done in the last two weeks. I finally see the specialist this Thursday who will sit down with all the results. But I got to read the report on the MRI and it said that I have a 48 degree curve between L1 and L5. Any information would be appreciated.. I hate this pain and finally found out the cause, which is refreshing and scary at the same time. I really feel that this curve has progressed dramtically in the last year. Ive lost 2 inches in height, but just thought it was because of my age (38years old).....thanks everybody..

Hi Rich,

Welcome. I'm sorry you've been in so much pain. It must have been a shock to you hearing that your have a curve like that out of the blue. Yes, different surgeries are recommended based on the location of your curve, the size of your curve, and if there is disk damage, etc. going on in that area as well. I'd recommend that your get at least 2 or possibly 3 different opinions from scoliosis specialists. You don't just want to trust the fist guy you see.

2 inches loss of height is quite a bit, especially for just 38 years old. Where are you located? Here is a link to find scoliosis specialists in your area. http://www.srs.org/find/

Let us know if you have any other questions.

debbei
09-21-2009, 11:08 AM
Rich,

I forgot to add that 'fusion' for scoliosis, at least now-a-days, always includes rods. If your curve doesn't encompass that many vertibrae, then possibly your rods wouldn't be that long. For myself, I had a double curve, so 13 of my vertibrae are fused using 2 rods and a bunch of screws. Don't let the sound of that scare you too much. When I found out that's what I needed I thought I'd be a freak, but now, not yet one year after surgery, I look and feel perfectly normal. The hardware is put in there to hold up your spine while the fusion process is taking place (which can take a year or longer).

Good luck,

rich1752
09-21-2009, 11:37 AM
After doing more research, I learned of "flat back" with lumbar surgery. Anybody experience this problem. I am leaning towards surgery, cause the pain if unbearable...

johnsonbunch
09-21-2009, 12:54 PM
Flat back is mostly linked to the Harrington rods that were used in the 70s. They attached in only 2 places, the top and bottom of the rod, and sometimes took out the natural curve we have in the small of our backs. In the mid 80s, new system was developed, which attach the rods at every pedicle and force the spine to maintain the contour of the rod (which is bent to mimic that natural curve), hence, no more flat backs.

LindaRacine
09-21-2009, 10:00 PM
quick question, after doing research on surgery, I am still a bit confused. I have a dumb question. Do they recommend different surgeries depending on the location of the curve? I have a lumbar curve and am wondering if they will recommend a fusion or rods. I have had 3 xrays done, MRI done, Nerve Test done in the last two weeks. I finally see the specialist this Thursday who will sit down with all the results. But I got to read the report on the MRI and it said that I have a 48 degree curve between L1 and L5. Any information would be appreciated.. I hate this pain and finally found out the cause, which is refreshing and scary at the same time. I really feel that this curve has progressed dramtically in the last year. Ive lost 2 inches in height, but just thought it was because of my age (38years old).....thanks everybody..

Hi Rich....

Lumbar curves are far more likely to cause pain. While we often hear about a 50 degree cutoff for surgery, it's really more about the symptoms. Only you know whether you have enough pain to offset the cost of a large surgery (in terms of pain, complications, etc.)

If it's the MRI that showed a 48 degree curve, your curve is actually probably higher than that, as curves flatten out significantly when we lay down.

Good luck with the specialist. Who are you seeing?

Regards,
Linda

Suzy
09-21-2009, 10:35 PM
Hi Rich,
I had a Lumbar only curve that was 49* when I decided to have surgery. (It was probably 51* by my surgery date as it was mooving fast.) I am fused T10 to L4 and doing great at over 3 1/2 years out.
No question is a dumb question here, it is a learning process. You can E-mail me and I will fill you in on anything you want to know. We are but a few with Lumbar only curves. This DOES make a difference I have found.
Hope to talk to you soon, Suzy
suzy907@hotmail.com


2/22/06 @ age 42, fused T10-L4 now 8*