Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 23

Thread: Uneven Shoulders

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    5

    Uneven Shoulders

    Hi, I am new to this forum. My 16 year old daughter had spinal fusion surgery for her scoliosis three months ago. It went very well and she is recovering fine.
    Her doctor was very happy with the outcome and said we would be happy with the correction since it is almost completely straight. She had a 54 degree curve. He said she scored perfect in all areas of the surgery. As you can imagine we were so excited to hear that. At the hospital and shortly thereafter we were amazed on how even her hips were compared to before, she had a C curve. Before the surgery even though here hips were very uneven her shoulders compensated for that
    and were pretty even. However, after the surger we started noticing that her shoulders are uneven. At her last appointment about 1 1/2 months ago, her
    doctor had a PT come in to show her some simples excersises in order to help with her shoulder issue. He did say that they should even out over time and
    it was nothing to worry about. But I am worried since it's been 3 months and really no improvement. It breaks my heart after all that she's been through especially since her doctor told her after the surgery that she would be very happy with the way she looks. She still looks lopsided to me and not sure if we should be doing anything else about it. We are not due to go back until after Thanksgiving. Was wondering if any of your children had a similar experience and the long-term result was?

    Thanks,

    Chris

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,261
    Is she *very* lop-sided Chris? I still have a 22 degree curve (down from 68) and my shoulders are lop-sided but my hips are even so I put my lop-sidedness down to the residual curve.

    Is it something she's uncomfortable about?

    If she has a small residual curve, I guess this might be the cause. Time may still improve the situation but if you are concerned, then speak to her surgeon because you need to have your questions answered.
    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
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    8,903
    Where was the curve? Thoracic, lumbar or thoracolumbar?

    Certain thoracic curves corrected in certain ways are known to have "high left shoulder" after surgery and surgeons do things to avoid this problem.

    My one kid came out of surgery with uneven shoulders opposite to the uneveness she went in with. This took several weeks to even out. I don't remember exactly when it evened out but it certainly could have been after three months.

    The other kid came out level and stayed that way but she had a different type of thoracic curve than her twin.

    Good luck.
    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."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    44

    Sons shoulder evened out

    Hi, I would just like to add that my son had surgery when he was 13 for a 41 deg thoracic curve. He was left with very uneven shoulders but Dr Cree said he will unwind. I'm pleased to say he did. I'm not sure how long it took but definately months. I was constantly ringing the secretary. My own surgery just over 4 weeks ago was far less stressful. My son is now very active, loves the gym and the girls love him...he is 17
    Kelly

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Ukiah CA
    Posts
    891
    Chris my curve is post-op is 20* and my shoulders at times are uneven but almost all the time even. it some times happens
    Kara
    25
    Brace 4-15-05-5-25-06
    Posterior Spinal Fusion 3-10-10
    T4-L2
    Before 50T
    After 20T

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    5
    Yes, her curve was thoracic. It's strange because her spine looks straight and her hips are pretty even, not perfect, but she her shoulders are lopsided. One of
    you guys said that surgeons do things do prevent this. We were never told this could happen, otherwise I wouldn't be concerned. Her surgeion is the top surgeon at Childrens Memorial Hospital in Chicago. It is just heartbreaking since she went throught such a tough surgery and we thought she would be much better after surgery as was promised by her doctor.
    I think I'm going to bring her in for an earlier exam just for "peace of mind". I have read posts about it correcting overtime, so I am at least hopeful.
    I would still like to hear some of you other parents whose children have gone through a similar thing. Could perhaps more intense physical therapy help?
    I remember always looking up ways to improve her curve when she was in the brace for 6 years and then when we were told she needed surgery I felt at least
    there is a way to correct this finally. Too go through this all over again is very stressful. Again, any input is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Chris

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    3,557
    Chris
    I had a high left shoulder after my surgeries and it eventually evened out. Since everything was cut and it takes so long for some of the soft tissues to heal, I would simply wait this out. She needs more time to heal.

    Intense physical therapy is not what you want to do. That will just create pain. Many surgeons just want their patients walking....I did my PT at 8 months post and it was very light in the beginning.

    Slow and easy......she is going to be fine.
    Welcome to the forum
    Ed
    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
    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,974
    Chris-- just a thought-- are her shoulders truly uneven, or is she holding them in an uneven way? The reason I ask is because when I started physical therapy at about 6 months post-op, my shoulders were uneven. My PT said it was because in my pre-op days my muscles had gotten used to holding myself in a certain way-- to make myself look correct and even. Because of that, they didn't want to re-learn their position now that my spine was straight. He had me spend some time feeling what was now "right" (and it felt SO WRONG) by looking in the mirror and holding my shoulders straight. Gradually I got to the point where I could feel the new "straight." Of course, your daughter doesn't have 40 years of unlearning to do like I did, but has she tried holding her shoulders straight in a mirror? Just a thought. And maybe one you've covered already.
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    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
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    68
    I definitely agree with everyone here. After my surgery, I was really discouraged about the way I looked and felt because it wasn't fixed. But actually, over time-- probably around 8-12 months or so-- I gained my muscles back, and I looked more natural and even. I hope you find the same to be true!

    Oh, and there are some things that still haven't changed for me, and they never will (like my upper rib hump and the side of my chest that caves in). But the really noticeable unevenness did go away, which I'm thankful for. : )
    Katie

    My blog: http://scoliosis-braceyourself.blogspot.com/
    My video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NG9hMohsU0

    5 Boston back braces
    Spinal fusion- Nov. 17, 2009, senior year of high school
    52 and 57 degrees pre-surgery, 22 and 20 degrees post-surgery
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Shriners Children's Hospital, Chicago
    Back into volleyball and music as a senior in college!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    5
    Thanks to everyone for your replies. Her surgeon did say it can take a year to even out and he seemed pretty confident that it will. I wanted to hear actual
    stories from other patients who went through a similar thing and eventually did even out. I also want to know if there is anything we should be doing in the
    meantime. I don't want to look back and regret that something could have been done.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    5

    Uneven Shoulders

    Hi, I just wanted to let everyone know that my daughter's uneven shoulder 1 1/2 years post-surgery are much much better.
    I guess it just takes time just like the doctor said. They're still a little uneven but not that noticeable anymore. Physical therapy 4 months after
    surgery helped too.

    Chris

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    8,903
    Quote Originally Posted by maughact View Post
    Hi, I just wanted to let everyone know that my daughter's uneven shoulder 1 1/2 years post-surgery are much much better.
    I guess it just takes time just like the doctor said. They're still a little uneven but not that noticeable anymore. Physical therapy 4 months after
    surgery helped too.

    Chris
    Great news, Chris! Thanks SO MUCH for updating this thread. That helps new patients so much.

    My one kid was very upset when she came out with a high different shoulder. The surgeon said it would come even and it did but it took a long time and I think she was worried much of that time. Life is very unfair. And of course it gets far more unfair than that.
    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."

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    76
    I'm reading this with interest as my dd who is four weeks post op has a very noticeable higher left shoulder which is opposite of how she was before surgery. She says she cannot drop it down. I take heart this will improve. While her spine is straight she is still lopsided. She seems to lean as well. I'm trying not to stress.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    8,903
    Cello mom you are SO RIGHT not to stress either high left shoulder or the lean. Both those issues resolved on my girls but it took months and months.

    Hang in there.
    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."

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    76
    Quote Originally Posted by Pooka1 View Post
    Cello mom you are SO RIGHT not to stress either high left shoulder or the lean. Both those issues resolved on my girls but it took months and months.

    Hang in there.

    thanks! you know they probably told us this, but then it is a lot to remember.

    did your daughters regain sensation around the incision? how long did it take? DD is saying it itches but she scratches and cannot feel it, which is sort of weird but not really worrisome.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •