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Thread: The benefits of being fused

  1. #1
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    The benefits of being fused

    The benefits of being fused. Lets review.

    There are many benefits of being fused, and I donít believe there is a thread about this here, so thatís why I'm starting this thread. We have bits and pieces here and there, but it would be nice to review and make a list and maybe in the end, we should score.

    I think in living with scoliosis for many years, the biggest benefits have to deal with "major pain". There are many other reasons, but this the most important reason. As we get older living with scoliosis, this needs to be addressed.

    Whenever we end up getting sick with a cold or a flu, the back pain multiplies. I have had a stomach flu, (lovely subject), and the one thing I donít have anymore is that lower back pain that goes with the whole process.

    The passing of my kidney stone took my lower back pain up to a 15,(believe it folks) and now, if that were ever to happen again, I'm sure my back pain would be much lower.

    I wont die from a high speed ski crash, it will be from bad mayo.... When in doubt, throw it out! Why does it seem that my problems always seem to be diet related? Maybe some day, I will exercise full discipline in regards to overeating....

    Anyway, go ahead and list your benefits of having scoliosis surgery.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    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
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  2. #2
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    Good idea Ed, but stay away from the bad mayo, would ya? Aside from the freedom of pain here are just a couple benefits of fusion: I will never be hunched over when I age as so many women do with osteoporosis. Also I am now 2" taller!
    Laura
    62 degrees
    49 yrs. young
    Surgery 3/31/10 with Lenke

    Before and After pics
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/13749126@N06/

  3. #3
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    Awww.......this is going to make some of us feel really left out.
    Amy
    58 yrs old, diagnosed at 31, never braced
    Measured T-64, L-65 in 2009
    Measured T-57, L-56 in 2010, different doc
    2 lumbar levels spondylolisthesis
    Exercising to correct

  4. #4
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    My number one reason is that fusion very likely saved my daughters lives.

    But I think my daughters would say it made them look and feel normal.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  5. #5
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    The passing of my kidney stone took my lower back pain up to a 15,(believe it folks) and now, if that were ever to happen again, I'm sure my back pain would be much lower.Ed

    Ed, I believe your back pain went up to a 15! My daughter's back was fused before she developed kidney stones. She said they hurt more than her spinal fusion. So I guess the fact she onlly had to deal with the kidney stone pain and no other back pain was a plus, right?

    Oh, and I don't have to worry about her dieing from bad mayo--she doesn't like mayo. Whew! What a relief! One less thing to worry about with a teenager!

    Mary Lou
    Mom to Jamie age 21-diagnosed at age 12-spinal fusion 12/7/2004-fused from T3-L2; and Tracy age 19, mild Scoliosis-diagnosed at age 18.

  6. #6
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    Laura
    Very good. I wouldnít have thought of the obvious osteoporosis reasoning. Even though at a meeting, I met a lady who waited too long and was denied her surgery....I'm surprised they donít make pedicle screws with larger flanks on the thread form for osteoporotic bone.

    Sharon
    I almost forgot! How could I forget that my surgeons saved my life!.....Well, I guess we know which one deserves 1st place. I myself was in the same boat. You can live for a long time with scoliosis, its just when you age, the pain seems to increase, and healing is slower.

    I know cosmetic reasons rate high for some, they really didnít for me. Guys can hide it easier.

    Marylou
    Yes, it was a plus. Better to go through any stone pain after fusion. Actually, any abdominal pain for any reason seems to trigger muscles and exasperate scoliotic pain.

    I was fortunate that my sciatica was finally cured. I know that some still experience this after their surgeries, and feel for them. That really was an experience with 4 herniations.

    Amy
    Donít feel left out, I'm doing this for people like you, who are waiting and deciding on surgery. And of course, any surgeon who wants to be reminded why he does his job. We are greatful.

    Keep em coming guys, were not done.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    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
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  7. #7
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    Okay, benefits:

    1. I can shop, browse, and/or amble for hours -- all those things that used to cause lots of pain and occasionally numbness in various extremeties.

    2. I can wear form-fitting clothes on both halves of my body -- yeah baby!!!

    3. I can walk for miles without getting muscle fatigue.

    4. I can sit through a movie, the theatre, the opera -- anything I want -- without having to get up and unkink my back halfway through.

    5. I can stand at the kitchen counter and slice, dice and cook to my heart's content.

    6. Just this year (3 years post-op) I resumed some light gardening and some of the heavier housework -- we finally fired the cleaning lady (it was nice while it lasted, heh heh!!).

    7. Best of all, I no longer worry about my rib cage resting on my pelvis, or how deformed I'm going to get, or whether or not I'm going to have trouble eating or breathing someday.

    This is a good exercise, Ed -- thanks!
    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
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    thanks for doing this thread Ed...great idea...and thanks to all who wrote in...

    Chris (Singer)...you listed some great reasons...makes me give it serious thought!

    jess

  9. #9
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    I know I won't be sitting in a wheelchair on oxygen at the age of 55 - because the way my spine was progressing - I would have been there at that young age.

    I am 2in. taller.

    I have my confidence back.

    I can stand in the kitchen and cook without pain.

    I can walk on my treadmill without pain.

    I can walk on the beach for two hours (with my son on his field trip) without pain.

    My life has started anew at the ripe age of 44

    This is a great thread Ed, thanks for starting this one!
    Lynette - 44 years old.

    Pre-surgery thoracic 55 degrees
    Pre-surgery lumbar 85 degrees

    Post-surgery thoracic 19 degrees
    Post-surgery lumbar 27 degrees

    Surgery April 1st 2010.

    Posterior spinal fusion from T9 to sacrum.
    Dr. Cronen at University Community Hospital - Tampa, FL.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2009
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    I believe I was depressed for about 10 years before getting scoliosis surgery on June 8th. I didn't like living the with the deformity. I can now wear tighter tops and can now go swimming in a pool or at a beach with my children!!!!!!!!!! That makes me soooo happy.!! Last year they would always beg me to go to neighborhood parties and wanted to me swim with them, I always had to make an excuse up as to why I couldn't go swimming.

    For years, I was embarassed to go to a pool or a beach, even with good friends, because I didn't want everyone staring at my back. I didn't feel comfortable within my own skin. I always like the winter season better because I could wear a nice big sweather and cover up with my coat.

    I was always worrying about how I looked standing in front of another person. If I dropped a paper on the floor and work I always had to reposition myself so no one would see my bend down!

    This is so strange that I am sharing this all with you and writing it down because before I deciding on getting the surgery I hid the fact to everyone that I had scoliosis. I never talked about it, I always tried to hid it. It feels so much better to get it out in the open. I only started talking to people about it when I made my decision back in November 2009 to have surgery. Now I feel like a million bucks since I did have surgery. I saw what it did to my 80 year old grandma when she died last August. She had 2 100 degree curves and was in a wheel chair. She could barely walk, she breathing was terrible, she looked awful, and she shouldn't have had to live like that. With the technology today. I feel like there is no reason for people with really large curves not to have it fixed.

    JenM
    Surgery date: June 8, 2010 with Dr. Boachie
    Thoracic curve: 55 degrees, corrected to 25 degrees
    Lumbar curve: 58 degrees, corrected to 27 degrees
    Posterior-only surgery, Levels T3-L3
    31 year old mother of 2 young kids

  11. #11
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    Jen, I'm so glad you've been saved from that fate.

    As has already been said, the ability to stand for long periods, walk forever, garden, swim, you name it, without pain, has been the major benefit of this surgery for me.

    My scoliosis was never going to kill me, but I was getting very scrunched up in the torso and looked like I needed to lose weight, when really, I didn't. The surgery stretched me out 2 inches and I no longer look chunky.

    Cosmetically, getting rid of the rib hump was the biggest thrill.
    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

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferG View Post
    As has already been said, the ability to stand for long periods, walk forever, garden, swim, you name it, without pain, has been the major benefit of this surgery for me.
    .
    I can hardly imagine this! It's been different for so long, I can't even remember being able to stand and/or walk without pain. I just went to a religious service Friday night with my visiting son (Judaism involves a lot of standing prayer) and I toughed it out including an hour long post-service social hour which didn't include chairs for some reason. By the time I got a kind soul to scour one up for me, the damage had been done. My son and I had to cut our evening short and I was unable to get out of bed for almost the entire rest of the weekend.

    OTOH - as if I were remembering a movie plot - I recall walking for ten+ hours in Paris when I got there decades ago, and many other similar walking marathons (running too). How lovely it would be to step back in time that way, even in part.

    Jennifer, did you have any problems with degenerated disks? Sometimes I worry, on their account, I wouldn't have anything like the same pain relief from the surgery even if successful otherwise.
    Not all diagnosed (still having tests and consults) but so far:
    Ehler-Danlos (hyper-mobility) syndrome, 69 - somehow,
    main curve L Cobb 60, compensating T curve ~ 30
    Flat back, marked lumbar kyphosis (grade?) Spondilolisthesis - everyone gives this a different grade too. Cervical stenosis op'd 3-07, minimally invasive

  13. #13
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    i think actually the disc relief is easier achieved than the curve relief...at least, from the folks i know who have only had their discs repaired...(they dont have scoli)

    jess

  14. #14
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    Ed,
    Thanks for starting this thread. I love it! I want to read it over and over and know that I've made the right decision to schedule surgery! I know my future is brighter, even if I have to put my active life style on hold temporarily. Thanks, again, for caring about this forum long after your surgery. It's very unselfish of you to take the time for input. I appreciate it!
    Karen

    Surgery-Jan. 5, 2011-Dr. Lenke
    Fusion T-4-sacrum-2 cages/5 osteotomies
    70 degree thoracolumbar corrected to 25
    Rib Hump-GONE!
    Age-60 at the time of surgery
    Now 66
    Avid Golfer & Tap Dancer
    Retired Kdgn. Teacher

    See photobucket link for:
    Video of my 1st Day of Golf Post-Op-3/02/12-Bradenton, FL
    Before and After Picture of back 1/7/11
    tap dancing picture at 10 mos. post op 11/11/11-I'm the one on the right.
    http://s1119.photobucket.com/albums/k630/pottoff2/

  15. #15
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    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sacramento, CA area
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    Quote Originally Posted by JenM View Post
    I didn't like living the with the deformity. I can now wear tighter tops and can now go swimming in a pool or at a beach with my children!!!!!!!!!! That makes me soooo happy.!! Last year they would always beg me to go to neighborhood parties and wanted to me swim with them, I always had to make an excuse up as to why I couldn't go swimming.

    For years, I was embarassed to go to a pool or a beach, even with good friends, because I didn't want everyone staring at my back. I didn't feel comfortable within my own skin. I always like the winter season better because I could wear a nice big sweather and cover up with my coat.

    I was always worrying about how I looked standing in front of another person. If I dropped a paper on the floor and work I always had to reposition myself so no one would see my bend down!

    This is so strange that I am sharing this all with you and writing it down because before I deciding on getting the surgery I hid the fact to everyone that I had scoliosis. I never talked about it, I always tried to hid it. It feels so much better to get it out in the open.
    Reading posts like this makes me realize that I'm not alone in having these same feelings, and it brings tears to my eyes. Thank goodness for this forum!
    Laurie
    Age 57
    Posterior fusion w/thoracoplasty T2-L3 Oct 1, 2010
    Thoracic curve corrected from 61* to 16*
    Lumbar curve, unknown measurement
    Disfiguring back hump GONE!!
    Dr Munish Gupta
    UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA

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