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Thread: looking for positive experiences

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Ottawa, Canada

    looking for positive experiences

    Would you describe the kind of surgery you have had done. Some of the experiences described on this site and the National Scoliosis Forum are daunting. The nurse practioner that works with the potential surgery who will do my revision is very positive in her discussion of the post-op period. As experiences go, each one is a subjective event with the client bringing a variety of physical and emotional abilities/disabilities. I am looking for an average experience. I have no co-morbitities except age (64y and counting), Harrington rods of 30 yrs at 34y and a previous spinal fusion at 14 y with no instrumentation. I have the usual flatback, proximal junctional kyphosis, sagittal imbalance and some increasing lumber stiffness but no pain.
    Some of the respondants comment on difficulty driving related to sacral screws, dreadful pain and on and on. I am having a hard time wondering if the benefits will withstand the rigors of recovery
    I will meet with the surgeon a week from Monday to make a decision.
    Any additional insight would be great

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Hi Elizabeth and welcome to the forum.

    There are a number of revision surgery patients on the forum (I'm not one) and hopefully they'll see your thread and offer some of their experiences.

    If you have no health issues, I can't see that being 64 will be a problem. The use of BMP seems to have improved the chances of fusion dramatically.

    Can you tell us what your surgeon intends to do, this surgery?
    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern California
    Hi Elizabeth...

    Unfortunately, I don't think there is a norm. I've known women your age, and even older, who have had big revision surgeries, and who have had amazing recoveries. (For example, being off all pain medication before a month postop.) I've also known women who have had relatively small surgeries, and had long, painful recoveries. If I had to guess, I'd say that those people who are more fit have easier recoveries. (I'm not very fit, so I'm not saying that from a superiority standpoint. It's difficult for someone with extreme chronic pain to remain fit.)

    I'd like to encourage you to join this list:

    You'll find dozens of women who have gone through the same thing.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern California
    Hi again....

    I see that you're already on the YahooGroups list.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Indianapolis, IN

    Wink My Revision

    I just had my surg just over 3 weeks ago for sagittal imbalance. I had an osteotomy and replacement of some rods and screws also. My surgery experience has gone amazingly well. I am 50 yr old. The worst part was in recovery where I had horrific pain but that was short lived. I went home with a script for Percocet only. I am taking it less and less. My pain level is really only an aching in my lower back. I wear a brace 24 hrs a day except for when I bathe. I sleep alot but my activity level is so much better than before my surgery. I can stand upright (!), walk around the block, sit as long as I want. I havent driven yet. My sacrum and pelvis where I have pelvic anchors does not bother me. My incision is healed. I am following the 'no bending, twisting, lifting" restrictions very strictly because I want this surgery to be successful. The only thing that I really have had trouble getting used to is wearing the brace 24/7. I am just so thankful that it has been successful, this easy recovery for me has been a bonus! I can't even thank my fitness level because for 2 years prior I was pretty disabled. Good Luck and hopefully you will hear more positive experiences! (my first surgery was a very negative experience)
    May 2008 Fusion T4 - S1, Pre-op Curves T45, L70 (age 48). Unsuccessful surgery.

    March 18, 2010 (age 50). Revision with L3 Osteotomy, Replacement of hardware T11 - S1 , addition of bilateral pelvic fixation. Correction of sagittal imbalance and kyphosis.

    January 24, 2012 (age 52) Revision to repair pseudoarthrosis and 2 broken rods at L3/L4.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern California
    Quote Originally Posted by naptown78 View Post
    I wear a brace 24 hrs a day except for when I bathe.
    Yikes... how horrendous!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Geneseo, NY

    no severe pain, no surgery for me

    I began reading and posting here when I developed base-of-fusion issues, mostly lack of sensation and weakness starting at my left knee and including my foot. This makes it more difficult and somewhat uncomfortable for me to walk. I can probably walk a mile, that's not too bad, though I am slow. My curve above my fusion has worsened, I have lost 2" in height, my trunk is thicker, I look old. I have slowly concluded after reading the stories here that I will not consider surgery unless I develop severe pain, or perhaps if other body functions (like breathing) become impaired. As one ages, the chances of a successful revision surgery are less.
    1966 fusion in Buffalo of 11 thoracic vertebrae, with Harrington rod

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Love your user name. I've read many books about her years ago. Even though Elizabeth 1st conquered the Armada, this battle of yours, could be indecisive. You could win or lose. I wouldn’t go there, unless attacked. Attacked by pain. (Or France or Spain for that matter)

    You are a trooper, no doubt. Consult with multiple "revision scoliosis specialists", before making a move. Things have improved substantially in the last 50 years however, surgery is still serious. All the ultimate decisions by each surgeon should basically be parallel, congruent, or in agreement with one another.

    BMPs induce formation of bone. They act as a catalyst, to speed up fusion. BMP fuses in 6 months, Allograft and autograft in 12 months.
    When we age, it is harder to heal. BMP is usually used in older patients, and is very expensive.

    Some extra stuff...

    I know, tons of material to read...but its just good to know.

    You know that you don’t have to make a decision. No surgeon will or should push anyone into any surgery. Its ok, to think about things, and surgeons will understand that. My surgeon thought about my surgery for 2-1/2 years before working on me. I thought about it for 34 years. Let us know how it goes on your 4/19/10 visit.
    49 yr old male, now 59, the new 55...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion

    My x-rays

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    New Bern, NC
    Hi Elizabeth,
    My surgery wasn't a revision. I will be having a minor revision on Monday at the age of 70. I was 67 at the time of my original surgery; surgery #1 was 12 hours and surgery #2 was 7 hours. I don't believe your age is a co morbidity as long as you are in good health and are a vibrant positive person. Recovery is tough but I was off all pain meds except Neurontin at 3 months post-op.
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F.

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

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