View Full Version : Recommended Surgery for 78 Year Old Woman

10-25-2009, 08:53 PM
My mother is very severely hunched over and has a great difficulty walking. She's been diagnosed with adult scoliosis. She is 78 years old and is otherwise relatively healthy. She went to a dr. at NYU, who recommended that she have surgery done - he said she'd need to be in the hospital about a week and then be at a rehab. facility for a few weeks. She's been told that, without the surgery, she'll eventually wind up in a wheelchair. (She's been told she should be using a walker now, but hasn't done so yet.) Does anyone have any experience with having surgery done at a similar age or have any experience with NYU? Any thoughts on what she should do would be appreciated. Thanks.

10-25-2009, 09:08 PM
Hi Shelly,

My Dr. told me he did surgery on a 91 yr old Man. The first words out of my mouth were "WHY?" Not such a nice thing to say I know. It gave him such a better quality of life that my Dr. said he was stopping by all the time to thank him.

If your Mom is healthy that is great. I have read about and talked to a few women who put off surgery because they were scared. Once they made up their minds to have the surgery, to better their quality of life, it was too late.

No one can tell her what to do and it is a long and at times tough recovery. Having lots of information will help the two of you make the right decision. I always say to those thinking about surgery "Scoliosis doesn't get better, it usually gets worse."

10-25-2009, 10:10 PM
Hi Shelly,

I agree with Suzy that no one can tell her what to do. But as far as NYU, I live in New York City and it's considered one of the best, if not THE best hospital around.

Best of luck to you and mom!

10-25-2009, 11:15 PM
Hi Shelly...

I volunteer at UCSF in the orthopaedic spine center. The surgeons there are routinely doing long fusions on people in their 60s and 70s, and even in their 80s. The results have been astounding.

With that said, I think there's a lot to consider. The complication rate goes up significantly, with the age of the patient. It's not only possible, it's probable that your mother will have at least one complication. Fortunately, most of the complications are minor, and really have no impact on the overall outcome of the surgery.

Being in a wheel chair isn't the worst thing in the world, especially at your mother's age. She has to decide if the potential of continuing to be able to function on her own is equal to or better than the risks and pain of surgery.

Best of luck with whatever she decides.


10-26-2009, 12:33 PM
Hi Shelly
this must be such a tough decision to make! i am having a hard time deciding, & i am younger than your mom...

as a born & bred new yorker, i trust beth israel hospital & hospital for joint diseases, along with nyu...i have consulted with 3 excellent scoli surgeons at 3 different hospitals...i would trust any one of them to do my surgery, though one doesnt take my insurance...i rcommend your mother get 2nd & 3rd opinions before making any final decision..it can be very reassuring when all the doctors agree on what is needed & what is the best plan...

best of luck at this difficult time

10-26-2009, 04:19 PM
I don't know much about getting the surgery done at that age, but I do know about NYU Medical Center. Dr. Errico is my surgeon there and he was amazing!! I went to 4 surgeons until I found him and he has my complete confidence. I didn't get the surgery yet, but I did contact many of his patients and other doctors that know of him and he is HIGHLY recommended. NYU Medical center is supposed to be one of the best hospitals in NYC.

I was referred to my surgeon by Dr. Pirisi and he told me a story about a 75 year old women who had the surgery done by him. He was able to do a 50% improvement which is apparently good for that age.

Hope this helps and good luck :D

10-27-2009, 11:49 PM
Hi Shelly
sent you a private message...

best of luck to you whatever decision is made...