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Thread: MitziF

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011


    I am 48 years old. I was diagnosed with Scoliosis when I was 13. My mom noticed the hump on the right side of my back then she had a personal friend that was a doctor look at me and he confirmed it. I was taken to a doctor that put me in the Milwaukee brace. I wore it for a while until my mom discovered hanging and stretching straightened my spinal curve more than the brace. I donít think my mother could stand how this brace made me feel either. At the age of 16 I ended up having surgery with 2 Herrington rods. I have an S curve and after that surgery I did perfectly fine until the start of my 40′s. My pain has gradually gotten worse. I cannot stand long, I cannot lay on my side for a long period of time, and since the surgery I have never been able to lay on my stomach. I have gone through pain management and physical therapy. The physical therapy was good except when one ache started to feel better then another would start somewhere else. I now have severe back pain when I am active at anything. I have to stop and sit or lay down. The pain can be anywhere from a burning sensation that will radiate to my hip and legs. I visited with my doctor yesterday about surgery on my lower vertebras that are not fused (L1 to L5). He told me they are now bone to bone and that is where my pain comes from. He explained that he doesnít like to perform surgery until his patients decide and I donít know what to do. I would like to know if there is anyone out there that might have this similar background and had a second lower fusion surgery at my age that has helped with the pain?
    Any feedback would be most appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Welcome, Mitzi!

    I don't have any personal experience with fusion, as I am not fused. However, I have a step-cousin that is fused and some friends and a sister with lower back problems. The 40's are just great for pain! (sarcastic) My scoli is progressing and becoming more painful and I'm 43. My sister has lower back issues as you do. Her legs hurt and are numb. Her lower back hurts and she can't stand or sit comfortably for any length of time. I keep begging her to get the surgery. Her biggest hang-up is that she will have to travel about four hours to see a doctor that can help. My reason for begging her is this -- and I'm not intending to scare you: My friend, who worked as a surgical tech for years also has very bad lower lumbar issues. She has stenosis, spondolisthesis, and ruptured discs. The doctors begged her for years to get the surgery. She was reluctant and down right adamant about NOT having it done, being that she's been in the OR for many of these and the thought of all that hardware scared her. Needless to say, her spine self-fused into the position that the vertebrae were in. She is in a wheelchair and can only walk a step or two to self transfer to the bed or commode or chair, etc. She still has the pain and will be on narcotics the rest of her life (she's on 75 mcg fentanyl plus other drugs). Now there's absolutely nothing that any surgeon can do for her as she's already fused and the nerve damage is permanent. I watched as this whole process took place. It took about 10 years. She went from walking without aid (you could tell she had pain, but got around just fine and had an upstairs apt.), to a walker, to a wheelchair. With all the meds, her personality has changed to the point where I hardly know her anymore. She's only 62years old. I'm afraid of the same thing with my sister, as I see the same thing happening with her.

    So, your doctor is right, it's your body and only you can decide what you want to do. I haven't had this surgery so I can't relate to the pain of it. But consider the quality of life that you have right now. You are still young. Talk to others, like you are attempting to do. One person I suggest you talk to is Linda Racine. She's the moderator of the forum. She had a scoli surgery like you, then had the lower spine wear out. She had the surgery and would be in a good position to tell you what it is like. I really wish you the best. I can only imagine that revision surgery is a very difficult choice for many people as the memory of the initial surgery still lingers. Like I said, I wish you the very best in whatever you decide.
    Last edited by rohrer01; 12-16-2011 at 10:40 PM. Reason: not ruptured vertebrae, duh! ruptured discs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    I agree with rohrer, that only you can make the decision for surgery, however it would help if you saw an experienced revision surgeon who could recommend one way or the other. It's very hard to make the decision yourself without advice from a professional. There are members here who've had revision surgery who will likely pop in to the forum in the next few days and tell you of their experiences.

    My advice is to find the most experienced revision surgeon you can find - plenty of people here can make a recommendation. It could be that you might have to travel, but it will be worth it to get the best surgeon.

    You are still relatively young so should recover well. Best wishes Mitzi!
    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

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