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Thread: Complication rates for adult scoliosis surgery

  1. #31
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    I often think of Doreen when I think of complications. We tend to not personalize them (people with complications). I corresponded with her for a little while she was in rehab locations. I couldn't think of anything so terrible as what she went through, although I am sure there have been others. She wrote about it, in a nutshell, in this post:

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...8055#post88055

    She has a wonderful attitude and I wonder how she is getting along now.
    63, and feeling better with each year-- Life is good!
    2007 major curve @ 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shiftt
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15-- and Tickled Pink!!!


    Click to view my pics: [url=http://s244.photobucket.com/albums/gg25/SusieB1951/pics%20of%20scoli%20x-rays/,[/url] digital x-rays, and pics of me

  2. #32
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    oh my gosh...i read the link you posted...how awful!
    that would stop me in my tracks....

    jess

  3. #33
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    I had not heard of Doreen's story, and I sincerely hope she's recovered and doing well. I do have to say that her having nine (9!) prior surgeries without complications truly is a testament to the skill of these surgeons. Wow, I'm impressed. It's really nice to know that we have so many excellent orthopedic surgeons in the U.S. to rely on if necessary.

    I really do think that people always have to be prepared for the unexpected when they make their healthcare decisions. It's why you have to sign all those release forms because, unfortunately, someone always draws the short straw.

  4. #34
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    In my experience, if one chooses a spinal deformity expert who does a lot of surgeries, the chances of poor long-term outcomes are really rare. Through my support efforts, I know (either personally or through posts to forums or internet lists) literally hundreds (maybe even thousands) of adults who have had spinal deformity surgery. I can only think of 5 people (including Doreen and Joyful), whose outcomes were poor enough that they would almost certainly say they wish they had never undergone surgery in the first place.

    Needing to have scoliosis surgery pretty much sucks, but many of us would be disabled without it.
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by hdugger View Post
    I'd agree with that number if I include the people who *eventually* got everything settled. But, I think we've had more then 5 people just in the last few months who had serious enough problems after their first surgery that they had to go in for a second one. If I include people with kyphosis (instead of scoliosis) that number is much higher. I can hardly think of anyone with kyphosis surgery who didn't end up needing something else done for them, or who just avoided having to go in for a second surgery, or who have lingering problems.

    All of that said, yes, I agree that it's rare that people regret having surgery, once everything gets settled out.
    Yes, there seems to be a lot of need for revision. I contend, however, that with newer implants, and if one has the ability to choose one of the best surgeons, one has a relatively small risk of needing reoperation.

    It's all a very imperfect science, but I think there are an awful lot of us who would agree that we're better off because of surgery than we would have been without surgery.

    --Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    It's all a very imperfect science, but I think there are an awful lot of us who would agree that we're better off because of surgery than we would have been without surgery.

    --Linda
    Bingo

    How many scoli surgeries are performed each year? And what are the future projections?

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 55, the new 39...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    A/P 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. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    Yes, there seems to be a lot of need for revision. I contend, however, that with newer implants, and if one has the ability to choose one of the best surgeons, one has a relatively small risk of needing reoperation.
    --Linda
    I agree that people really, really need to pick surgeons that specialize in scoliosis surgery with a good track record (The Scoliosis Research Society a good place to find one). I suspect most orthopedic surgeons wouldn't turn down an opportunity to do a scoliosis surgery, after all, they are orthopedic surgeons. But who wants to be practiced on?

    To think that Doreen went through ten spine surgeries is mind-boggling. I have to think if she had sought out her final surgeon much earlier on, she wouldn't be in the situation she ended up in. Of course, she could just be a special situation for some reason, but it's hard to believe someone couldn't have fixed the problem long before the tenth surgery came up.

  8. #38
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    I haven't had the ideal post-op course, since I had a couple hospital admissions for a hemothorax in the month after my original surgery (chest tubes HURT!) and then muddled through the non-union experience. . .but, I can honestly say, not once, not for one little nanosecond, did I ever question having had this surgery.

    Even if I end up in the OR again, I still believe that I made the absolutely right decision.
    Fused T-3 to L-3, Aug 25
    Hardware removal surgery, Nov 2, 2010
    Fused T-10 to L-2, osteotomy, Feb 22, 2011

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgs View Post
    I haven't had the ideal post-op course, since I had a couple hospital admissions for a hemothorax in the month after my original surgery (chest tubes HURT!) and then muddled through the non-union experience. . .but, I can honestly say, not once, not for one little nanosecond, did I ever question having had this surgery.

    Even if I end up in the OR again, I still believe that I made the absolutely right decision.
    It's easy to get the completely wrong idea about this surgery from reading this group.

    Kids who need surgery get surgery.
    Kids who don't don't.
    Adults who need this surgery generally get it.
    Adults who don't don't.

    It's not like there is some great debate afoot. This is about as much of a "debate" as science versus folk science.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 04-20-2011 at 05:58 AM.
    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."

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by titaniumed View Post
    Bingo

    How many scoli surgeries are performed each year? And what are the future projections?

    Ed
    Hi Ed...

    I honestly don't know. Some years ago, at a Scoliosis Research Society meeting, one of the talks was on the percentage of scoliosis surgeries performed by non-specialists. The number was staggering, maybe like 80% (which would make sense if you believe in the 80/20 rule, which I do). This was in the days before the internet was huge, so hopefully it's getting better, but there are an awful lot of people having scoliosis surgeries done by general orthopaedists.

    --Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  11. #41
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    Well when you have SRS guys referring patients (and sending their own daughters) to non-SRS guys as in our case, that's going to drive up the number of surgeries by non-SRS guys.

    And there was an SRS surgeon in the same hospital and still we were referred to the non-SRS guy. And there are several SRS guys in the area.
    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."

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pooka1 View Post
    It's easy to get the completely wrong idea about this surgery from reading this group.

    Kids who need surgery get surgery.
    Kids who don't don't.
    Adults who need this surgery generally get it.
    Adults who don't don't.

    It's not like there is some great debate afoot. This is about a much of a "debate" as science versus folk science.

    The issue is not whether there is a debate afoot. The issue is whether people are treated as adults and make their decisions with completely open eyes and their facts straight. I'm not sure why a person would want to minimize the risk like you have tried to do. There are plenty of people I have seen who are less than happy with their results, and one shouldn't just try to ignore the inconvenient cases. Even the top scoliosis surgeons have cases result in some really tragic circumstances, as you well know.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ballet Mom View Post
    The issue is not whether there is a debate afoot.
    There is no debate.

    That doesn't prevent people from being confused that there is.

    Or thinking they have to admonish hospitals to fully inform patients of surgical risks as if they just yesterday decided that is a good idea that hospitals weren't doing this all along.

    Try to allow that folks, hospitals, etc. are ahead of you. Miles.
    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."

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pooka1 View Post
    There is no debate.

    That doesn't prevent people from being confused that there is.

    Or thinking they have to admonish hospitals to fully inform patients of surgical risks as if they just yesterday decided that is a good idea that hospitals weren't doing this all along.

    Try to allow that folks, hospitals, etc. are ahead of you. Miles.

    That's right, I'm into admonishing hospitals, lol. Hospitals are well aware of the risks of major surgery as should anyone who is contemplating it. That's all. End of story.

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