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Thread: Should I do this?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    143

    Should I do this?

    Just when I've made my decision to have surgery with Dr. Lonner in New York, I'm having second thoughts.

    I have absolutely no pain and never have had any. I've raised two sons without incident. I was told that my breathing capacity is reduced by 50 percent. However, I can do 1/2 hour on the treadmill easily and hardly notice any problem in going through my day (I am a teacher.)

    However, my thoracic curve of 90 degrees is not pretty and I'm concerned that it will progress, that I could develop problems and it will be too late to have the surgery.

    But then again it could not.

    My posture is excellent and people tell me that they hardly notice it. I don't know if I would do this if it was only for cosmetic reasons.

    I've lived 57 years this way with no problems, so I guess I'm different that many of the people here.
    How do I know that I wouldn't be able to live to a ripe old age this way? How do I know that I won't have chronic pain afterward? I've read here about people's relatives who've had long, full lives with severe scoliosis.

    Of course, there are no answers to these questions. But if anyone has any strong feelings about this, I could use some encouragement! Thanks for allowing me to vent some of my concerns, Joy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    Hi Joy
    i am also debating whether to have surgery or not (as we spoke of on the phone)..but my curves are much less than yours...i also do not have lung or heart problems as my thoracic is 40 degrees & doesnt bother me...except for pain..which is mostly handled by botox shots every 3 months or so...i had to cancel my appt for yesterday (wednesday) in NYC with pain doctor due to the snow..rescheduled for monday, feb 15...for my shots...
    i will do surgery...if i do it..because of the pain..& the way it has restricted my life & ability to function at all!!
    my lumbar problem causes incredible pain..all the time...some days worse than others, but ALL the time!

    i think you have to consider how fast your problems are progressing...how much of your life they are interferring with...& how much worse you think they will get..dont rule out pain developing at some point, too!! i hope not, but it could happen.
    have any of the doctors you've consulted talked about the rate of increase of your curves? will you be at 100 degrees in the next few years? do any predict if/when the pain will kick in from it getting worse? do they think that you will lose more lung function if the curves increase further?

    i think it is awful to go back & forth with the decision...as it sounds like you are doing...& i KNOW i have been doing.....i am amazed at how fast some people are able to decide...i wish i could decide as quickly...but i cant...
    i have an appointment to see Dr Lonner mid March to discuss surgery...

    best of luck
    jess
    Last edited by jrnyc; 02-11-2010 at 12:58 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    I am so glad I made the decision easily. I knew what was coming, how quickly I was deteriorating. I didn't want to wait until I was in agony and I was heading in that direction rapidly.

    Good luck to you both, Joy and Jess. I honestly can't see you regretting a decision for surgery, but you need to believe it for yourself, I guess.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    Quote Originally Posted by joyfull View Post
    Just when I've made my decision to have surgery with Dr. Lonner in New York, I'm having second thoughts.

    I have absolutely no pain and never have had any. I've raised two sons without incident. I was told that my breathing capacity is reduced by 50 percent. However, I can do 1/2 hour on the treadmill easily and hardly notice any problem in going through my day (I am a teacher.)

    However, my thoracic curve of 90 degrees is not pretty and I'm concerned that it will progress, that I could develop problems and it will be too late to have the surgery.

    But then again it could not.

    My posture is excellent and people tell me that they hardly notice it. I don't know if I would do this if it was only for cosmetic reasons.

    I've lived 57 years this way with no problems, so I guess I'm different that many of the people here.
    How do I know that I wouldn't be able to live to a ripe old age this way? How do I know that I won't have chronic pain afterward? I've read here about people's relatives who've had long, full lives with severe scoliosis.

    Of course, there are no answers to these questions. But if anyone has any strong feelings about this, I could use some encouragement! Thanks for allowing me to vent some of my concerns, Joy
    Hi Joyful,
    90 degrees is a pretty large curve. Do you know how fast it is progressing? For me, we knew that I progressed 30 degrees in 20 years and most likely it would continue to progress. Do you have any documented proof of progression? One thing you have to consider is that if you don't have the surgery, it might not be an option in another 10 or 20 years because of other health issues. You are young enough and healthy enough now that you could have a good recovery.

    Believe me, even those of us with pain prior to surgery second guess our decisions to have this done. It's not like this is an 'emergency' and we have no choice. Just the thought of this surgery sounds CRAZY until you know more about it.

    Good luck with your decision.
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    249
    Get it DONE!

    You have lived with this for long enough.
    45L/40T
    Surgery 25/1/2010
    Australia

    Knowthyself

    Scoliosis Corrected 25/1/2010 by Dr Angus Gray, Prince of Wales Private Hospital, Sydney. Fused T3-L4.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    424
    I required surgery 'within the next 12 months' my surgeon said. I had deteriorated 8 degrees in eight months and the pain was bad. He also suggested that it would be better for me now because i had not gone through menopause yet and there would always be te threat of other health issues such as athritis if i waited say within the next five years. I already had degenerative disc at multi levels. In all it took me about three weeks to make my decision and trust me it wasn't easy. Best wishes to you both.
    Vali
    44 years young! now 45
    Surgery - June 1st, 2009
    Dr David Hall - Adelaide Spine Clinic
    St. Andrews Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia
    Pre-op curve - 58 degree lumbar
    Post -op - 5 degrees
    T11 - S1 Posterior
    L4/5 - L5/S1 Anterior Fusion

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    That's a huge curve. If there is evidence that your curve is progressing, I would not hesitate to have the surgery. A curve that large is crowding your vital organs, including your lungs and heart, and I would imagine it's only a matter of time before you'd begin to suffer pain and/or disability.
    Chris
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
    Pre-op thoracolumbar curve: 70 degrees
    Post-op curve: 12 degrees
    Dr. Boachie-adjei, HSS, New York

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Whitinsville, MA
    Posts
    131
    I wouldn't hesitate to have the surgery. I know its easier said than done, but believe me when it progresses you will begin to feel it. I was at 110 lumbar and it restricted my breathing. Once the doctor told me the options if I didn't have the operation I immediately made up my mind. Granted maybe it wouldn't of happen but I was healthy and young at the time and I wanted to get this done and out of the way so I know I can have a better quality life later on. After surgery I could notice my breathing was soo much better. I would love to get another pulmonary function test just to see if it indeed got better. I won't lie and say the surgery is a piece of cake. But the difference after surgery is incredible!! Good luck with your discion making.

    27 year old female
    Upper Curve 110 degrees
    Lower Curve 90 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Wood at MGH 1/11/10 && 1/14/10
    Fused T2-Pelvis
    Back looks amazing and no more Hump! ^_^

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago north suburb
    Posts
    772
    Even if your curve does not progress any further, the fact that your breathing capacity is reduced by 50 percent is alarming. When I first began exploring surgery, I had the opportunity to attend a couple support group meetings where I met people who had surgery. There was a woman there in her 60s who had surgery to treat her 90 degree thoracic curve. She claimed she had no pain, but a surgeon convinced her that without surgery, her future looked bleak. This woman underwent two 15-hour surgeries at age 60 at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago. When I asked her why her surgeries were so long, she said her surgeon had a chest surgeon involved in an attempt to repair damaged lung tissue that over the years was caused by her untreated curve. I had two phone conversations with this woman prior to my own consultation with her surgeon. She did very well following her surgeries and was enjoying life doing a lot of traveling with her husband. Ironically, I was saddened to learn a few months ago that this woman succumbed to pneumonia and died last fall at age 68.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    143
    Thank you all so much for responding. I am going to schedule the date with Dr. Lonner today for the reasons many people mentioned - to prevent possible future problems when it will be too late to have the surgery.

    (Chris, I can't help but wonder if that woman's pneumonia was related to the extensive surgery including work on the lungs. Who knows if she would have gotten it if she hadn't had the surgery?)

    Now my job is to convince my two sons, ages 26 and 20, that I'm not crazy! Best wishes to all of you. Joy

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    114
    I often felt that I was convincing others that this was a good idea. And though I would never do this for cosmetic effect, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that I was hoping to have some improvement in that area. I only had pain getting out of bed in the morning in my lower back. Both my orthopedist and the general surgeon who did the approach were shocked that I wasn't in more pain. Since I hadn't been monitoring my back, I didn't really know how quickly things had progressed. I could sort of tell through videos and pictures of me in bathing suits that things had gone wrong probably after my third pregnancy. It was a tough decision for me.

    But I'm glad I did it when everything lined up...good insurance, my parents able to help, when I could get 50% correction. And, though it was a tough recovery, I'm sure I did better than I would have if I had been older.

    I would think you would have to weigh heavily the fact that your breathing has been impacted. Good luck.
    Kathy, 43
    Diagnosed as a teen
    Boston brace 2 years
    63 degree lumbar curve
    Surgery August 26, 2009
    Anterior approach fused T12-L4
    now 28 degrees

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    York, PA
    Posts
    332
    Hi Joy,

    I am sitting here with my lovely brace and some considerable post-op pain. In spite of all the difficulty of this journey--am only 9 days post-op, every morning, my husband keeps reminding me how straight I am. I haven't had the courage to do a "rear view" yet. For many years, I had no pain and would never dreamed of doing this. It is the hardest decision I have ever made (and that includes a divorce earlier in my life.) But as the months and years wore on, and this pain became increasingly limiting and interefered with my beloved choral singing and church work and enjoying my pets and cooking and all the things that enrich my life, I knew I had no choice. It is so damn hard to walk into a hospital perfectly "normal" and come out feeling the way I do now but I am clinging to all the encouragement from the post-ops on this forum that down the road, this will give me a better life. Even at this nitty-gritty pd. for me, I know it was the right thing.


    Anne in PA
    Age 58
    Diagnosed at age 14, untreated, no problem until age 50
    T4 to sacrum fusion
    63 thoracic now 35, 92 lumbar now 53
    Dr. Baron Lonner, 2/2/10
    Am pain-free, balanced, happy & an inch taller !

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago north suburb
    Posts
    772
    Quote Originally Posted by joyfull View Post
    (Chris, I can't help but wonder if that woman's pneumonia was related to the extensive surgery including work on the lungs. Who knows if she would have gotten it if she hadn't had the surgery?)
    Or were her lungs irreparably damaged from her scoliosis? I read her obituary notice which stated that she succumbed to pneumonia brought on by severe scoliosis. I found it shocking though that she survived 30 hours of surgery with no complications only to die from pneumonia several years later. Then again, maybe the surgery gave her eight more years.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    Joy,

    Good for you. I think you are making the right decision. Once you schedule your date, it gets a little easier to accept.

    Many of us had to convince friends and family that this is the right thing. Not that you feel you need to justify yourself once you make such a hard decision.
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    My family and friends were also skeptical about the surgery until I showed them my x-rays -- that usually convinced them!
    Chris
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
    Pre-op thoracolumbar curve: 70 degrees
    Post-op curve: 12 degrees
    Dr. Boachie-adjei, HSS, New York

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