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Thread: Connection between degenerative disc/scoliosis and prior idiopathic scoliosis

  1. #1
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    Connection between degenerative disc/scoliosis and prior idiopathic scoliosis

    (Prior to reading, please view my signature for details of my scoliosis, age and xray)

    So finally after 7 yrs since visiting my first ortho back in 2007 who did not recommend surgery I opted for a second opinion just yesterday. I am surprised to hear despite minimal pain and no progression my 2nd orthopedic surgeon I visited recommended surgery simply because 1) my thoracic curve was above 40 degrees, 2) the on-set of degenerative discs will be more susceptible to happening in my case. 3) It is better to fuse me now than to do it when I am older. He said when his patients turn 40 he doesn't want to perform fusion anymore because of the risks.

    However, when I asked him if I didn't get spinal fusion I can come to him for a laminectomy/laminotomy in case I experience a degenerative/herniated disc when I am older. He recommends though that it is better in getting the fusion now since even though the lumbar discs are susceptible to degeneration as well, the wear and tear may only occur one one vertebrae segment as opposed to multiple in the case I don't have surgery and continue to live with my scoliotic deformity("I do not know if I agree with this or not, what do you people think?"). If I get surgery, he plans to fuse me all the way to L2.

    So yet again, I am left with another gray area decision with the clock ticking against me and left confused as to how to decide and get on with this. This time the defining factor as I've always known it to be was not progression of my scoliosis, but degeneration of discs which may or may not even happen. I do not want to go into surgery based on some threat or fear that may never happen to me. I understand all spines normal or not degenerate as you age, and it is completely normal to experience a back that is stiffer and more painful as you age. Apart from that, I also know that degeneration of the disc is attributed to a lot of factors, and not just scoliosis. ex. hereditary, lifestyle habits, smoking, etc..

    The DEFINING QUESTION that remains is whether my severe scoliosis would eventually lead to degenerative discs faster or slower than if I had spinal fusion to L2 or even L3 segment with possibly a slight residual lumbar curve afterwards.
    My lumbar curve right now is still pretty straight and I do not have that much of a trunk shift. In fact, if you see me my head and torso is only slightly misaligned with my pelvis. The evaluation has to lie on whether my lumbar curve's discs will wear out faster trying to support a major thoracic curve vs a straighter thoracic spine but underneath the weight of a solid fusion.


    - since exercise does help prevent degenerative discs from getting worse, would it be easier or harder to do back exercises to keep your lumbar(lower back) strong if you had been fused to L2?

    - Does degenerative scoliosis stop progressing on its own after the vertebrae finally settles onto the adjacent one below because of the damaged weakening disc? or is it an ongoing "domino" effect process that will just keep progressing each year to no end?

    - would there have been a published study somehow on the rate of degeneration of discs of patients with scoliosis vs that of the normal spine population?

    - what is the likelihood of having a disc degeneration occur in the thoracic spine since I know the majority of all degeneration happens only in the lumbar area? (" I feel if even my thoracic discs seriously degenerate that is a sign that my ortho was correct all along and that I should just have surgery.")


    So I can only ask help from all participants in this forum, post op and pre op to give me testimonials as to how they all are doing. I prefer to hear from those who had untreated severe thoracic curves like mine that continued to live a relatively pain free, degenerative disc problem free life all the way into their 50-60s and beyond. Also if anyone can link me any studies, research papers and surveys related to my questions would be really great. I feel the more I know, the more I can gauge whether surgery is really right for me and when I should really have it. Hope Linda would see and comment on my post as well.

    To be honest IF I can attach a poll or survey in this forum I would but unfortunately I can't.

    Thank you all, your help and wisdom is appreciated.
    Last edited by Jinseeker; 03-05-2014 at 01:34 PM.
    31 yr old male with non-progressive Idiopathic scoliosis

    15-37 degrees- upper thoracic ( w/ left shoulder trap higher, head tilted more to the right)
    45-52 degrees- mid thoracic (to the right, w/ rib hump)
    25-30 degrees- lumbosacral curve (to the left w/ lumbar hump, right pelvis is higher than left)

    currently doing schroth exercises and counter postural techniques("side shifting")
    using rib and lumbar support belts. still contemplative about surgery.

    >>My X-ray<<

  2. #2
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    Hi Jinseeker,

    I'm not able to answer your query as I don't fit the profile of who you're looking to talk to, but I was curious if you had suffered any disc degeneration?

    I was surprised to read your story as I've gone to ortho surgeons all my life and was only recently told surgery could be an option for me. The others that I saw (all have specialized in scoliosis) recommended a conservative approach.

    My curve was thoracolumbar which over the years would put a lot of pressure on my lowest vertabrae, nonetheless, the subject of disk degeneration as a reason for surgery, never came up. And my MRIs never showed disk degeneration (I'm 38), so I'm not sure it's always a likely outcome. The reason I went for surgery this year was because I had a lot of pain over the years and my curve had increased.

    You might consider a second opinion since it was 7 years since you spoke with your last surgeon?

    Good luck and I hope you are able to find more people to give you the insight you're looking for!

    -Olivia
    Surgery Jan 6, 2014 at 38 yrs
    Posterior Fusion T10-L4, osteotomy 1 lev.
    Pre op-Thoracolumbar Curve-50 degrees

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinseeker View Post
    He said when his patients turn 40 he doesn't want to perform fusion anymore because of the risks.
    I'm getting some popcorn handy for when Linda might comment about this. :-)

    If I get surgery, he plans to fuse me all the way to L2
    Did he do bending films to determine it would be L2?

    I do not want to go into surgery based on some threat or fear that may never happen to me.
    Well, did he say that untreated curves usually get more disc herniations than normal spines?

    The DEFINING QUESTION that remains is whether my severe scoliosis would eventually lead to degenerative discs faster or slower than if I had spinal fusion to L2 or even L3 segment with possibly a slight residual lumbar curve afterwards.
    My lumbar curve right now is still pretty straight and I do not have that much of a trunk shift. In fact, if you see me my head and torso is only slightly misaligned with my pelvis. The evaluation has to lie on whether my lumbar curve's discs will wear out faster trying to support a major thoracic curve vs a straighter thoracic spine but underneath the weight of a solid fusion.
    I agree you have identified the defining question.

    Hope Linda would see and comment on my post as well.
    I hope so too. She might have some answers to your questions.
    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
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinseeker View Post
    (Prior to reading, please view my signature for details of my scoliosis, age and xray)

    So finally after 7 yrs since visiting my first ortho back in 2007 who did not recommend surgery I opted for a second opinion just yesterday. I am surprised to hear despite minimal pain and no progression my 2nd orthopedic surgeon I visited recommended surgery simply because 1) my thoracic curve was above 40 degrees, 2) the on-set of degenerative discs will be more susceptible to happening in my case. 3) It is better to fuse me now than to do it when I am older. He said when his patients turn 40 he doesn't want to perform fusion anymore because of the risks.
    I really don't get this. I can't see any advantage to having the surgery now. There's a reasonable chance you'll be able to avoid surgery altogether. And, even if you do have degenerative disc problems in the future, having a fusion now is a big step to take to try to avoid that. A large percentage of the population will have degenerative discs in their 50's and beyond. We don't fuse everyone to try to avoid that. Instead, you fix the problem when/if it actually occurs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinseeker View Post
    However, when I asked him if I didn't get spinal fusion I can come to him for a laminectomy/laminotomy in case I experience a degenerative/herniated disc when I am older. He recommends though that it is better in getting the fusion now since even though the lumbar discs are susceptible to degeneration as well, the wear and tear may only occur one one vertebrae segment as opposed to multiple in the case I don't have surgery and continue to live with my scoliotic deformity("I do not know if I agree with this or not, what do you people think?"). If I get surgery, he plans to fuse me all the way to L2.
    While I'm sure there are cases where people with scoliosis have had successful decompressions, I've personally never seen one. Decompressions destabilize the spine, usually leading to more rapid progression of problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinseeker View Post
    The DEFINING QUESTION that remains is whether my severe scoliosis would eventually lead to degenerative discs faster or slower than if I had spinal fusion to L2 or even L3 segment with possibly a slight residual lumbar curve afterwards.
    My lumbar curve right now is still pretty straight and I do not have that much of a trunk shift. In fact, if you see me my head and torso is only slightly misaligned with my pelvis. The evaluation has to lie on whether my lumbar curve's discs will wear out faster trying to support a major thoracic curve vs a straighter thoracic spine but underneath the weight of a solid fusion.
    Maybe they will, and maybe they won't. It really doesn't matter. I would NEVER allow my spine to be fused just to avoid the possibility of degenerative disc disease at a later date.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinseeker View Post
    - since exercise does help prevent degenerative discs from getting worse, would it be easier or harder to do back exercises to keep your lumbar(lower back) strong if you had been fused to L2?
    I personally think it would be more difficult with the fusion, but that's just my own personal opinion. Whether you decide to have surgery now, later, or never, I would do everything you can to keep your core strong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinseeker View Post
    - Does degenerative scoliosis stop progressing on its own after the vertebrae finally settles onto the adjacent one below because of the damaged weakening disc? or is it an ongoing "domino" effect process that will just keep progressing each year to no end?
    I don't think you have degenerative scoliosis. I forgot to look and see how old you are, but degen scoli is thought to start around the age of 50. There's very little published about the natural history of degenerative scoliosis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinseeker View Post
    - would there have been a published study somehow on the rate of degeneration of discs of patients with scoliosis vs that of the normal spine population?
    Not that I know of

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinseeker View Post
    - what is the likelihood of having a disc degeneration occur in the thoracic spine since I know the majority of all degeneration happens only in the lumbar area? (" I feel if even my thoracic discs seriously degenerate that is a sign that my ortho was correct all along and that I should just have surgery.")
    Thoracic disc degeneration does occur, but it's usually not very painful, so you won't hear much about it.

    If this were my decision to make, it would be easy. But, I can't know your pain, or other issues that might contribute to your decision.

    The reasons I wouldn't have surgery if I were in your shoes:

    *Once you have this surgery, there is no going back.

    *A large percentage of adult scoliosis patients need more surgery later on. So, when you sign up for surgery, you could be signing up for a lot more down the line.

    *We have a lot of patients, some of whom have huge curves, who are elderly and who have managed to avoid surgery their entire lives. So, it's not a sure thing that you'll eventually need surgery.

    *If you do need surgery later on, it can be done when you need it (though with a slight increase in risk of complications) well into your 60's, 70's or even 80's.

    Hope that helps.

    Regards,
    Linda
    Last edited by LindaRacine; 03-05-2014 at 11:10 PM.
    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
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    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    I forgot to look and see how old you are, but degen scoli is thought to start around the age of 50. There's very little published about the natural history of degenerative scoliosis.
    He's 29.
    .
    .
    .
    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."

  6. #6
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    I forgot to mention one important thing my surgeon also mentioned that I may possibly get pulmonary problems later on in life if i didn't have the operation. Right now, I don't have any, and breathing is just fine. My lung capacity tests read normal.

    @ pooka:

    Did he do bending films to determine it would be L2?

    - No he didn't. Just based on his experience from fusing thoracic spines, the best for mine would be L2, since L1 is the most tilted vertebrae it is not favorable to end a fusion there. He didn't even have one look at my back, or asked if i was a smoker( I am not btw ), he just looked at my x-rays. When I mentioned the complications and risks of fusion, he had little to say, and told me I would be out of the hospital within a week and have any physical restrictions lifted right away. In fact the topic of degenerative discs was brought up by me, not by the surgeon, which led him to admit that that was an actual complication later on in life.

    I am also definitely not very flexible. If I bend down keeping my legs straight, I cannot touch my toes. My farthest reach is my calves.


    Well, did he say that untreated curves usually get more disc herniations than normal spines?
    - I felt that he suggested it. Since he mentioned that in a fusion worst that can happen later on in life is that the one disc below the fusion may degenerate, in which case he would just do a laminectomy if that were to happen. However, underneath a major thoracic curvature like mine, may cause MULTIPLE discs to degrade over time.

    =======

    Thanks Linda for answering, really appreciate your feedback.

    I don't currently suffer any disk degeneration at all, it was more of an initiative to get surgery now rather than later since if a laminectomy failed on me i may end up getting a fusion to fix any problems due to a degenerative disc instead but i also know when you are too old, most surgeons turn you down for that.

    My pain right now is minimal. it is more of discomfort rather than pain. I just feel i need to stretch with a torso rotational breathing technique i use to help open up my tight concave side every 30 min or so. the only real pain is a pinched nerve feeling in my lower back which I believe may also happen after a fusion if the lumbar discs were spared.

    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post

    *We have a lot of patients, some of whom have huge curves, who are elderly and who have managed to avoid surgery their entire lives. So, it's not a sure thing that you'll eventually need surgery.

    Linda
    However, did those patients manage to stabilize their curves or did it get progressively worse through time as well as their pain?

    I am seeing another orthopedic surgeon this friday for a 3rd and final opinion. I will let you all know how it goes.
    Last edited by Jinseeker; 03-06-2014 at 03:08 AM.
    31 yr old male with non-progressive Idiopathic scoliosis

    15-37 degrees- upper thoracic ( w/ left shoulder trap higher, head tilted more to the right)
    45-52 degrees- mid thoracic (to the right, w/ rib hump)
    25-30 degrees- lumbosacral curve (to the left w/ lumbar hump, right pelvis is higher than left)

    currently doing schroth exercises and counter postural techniques("side shifting")
    using rib and lumbar support belts. still contemplative about surgery.

    >>My X-ray<<

  7. #7
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    Hi jinseeker,

    I agree 100% with Linda that there are tons of reasons for you to NOT have surgery now, and really very few compelling reasons TO have surgery now. I do not like the sound of the surgeon you mention at all---he is trying to scare you into having a huge, motion-limiting surgery now, for very dubious reasons. His statement that your activity restrictions will be lifted right away is not consistent with what other well-regarded scoliosis surgeons instruct their patients. It seems like he is massively minimizing the reality and risks of the surgery. I am very concerned hearing the things he has told you. Also, the statement about doing this surgery before you reach the ANCIENT age of ---40--- when the risks get too high is ridiculous! Plus, you are only 29 now, so you have 11 more years to think of it before you get to that elderly age of… 40 that your surgeon warned you about. BTW I have never heard of another surgeon who made 40 the age cutoff! My surgeon does this surgery on people in their 60's and 70's. There are a number of people on this forum who have had surgery in their 60's are are doing great.

    Another comment that does not make sense from your surgeon…that if you had the fusion and later got disc degeneration below it you could "just" have a laminectomy. This is far from the truth in many cases, and in fact, I think it might be just as likely to end up with a fusion extension all the way through lumbar and to the pelvis in the case of disc degeneration below a long fusion.

    In your situation I think there is no pressing reason and particularly no rush to have this surgery. As Linda pointed out, once it's done there is no going back. You can take your time and wait until/if there is a legitimate reason to have the surgery, then consider it. Please don't let yourself be rushed in to this surgery when there is not a very strong reason to do it. This surgery is not to be taken lightly. If it were me I would do everything possible to avoid or delay surgery for as many years as possible.
    Last edited by leahdragonfly; 03-06-2014 at 09:02 AM.
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  8. #8
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    Were I jinseeker, I wouldn't have this surgery under the present circumstances unless a surgeon guaranteed I would lose my lumbar if I waited. And that isn't going to happen.

    And I wouldn't have it with that guy even if I did. Too many apparently atypical claims if jinseeker is relaying them accurately.
    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."

  9. #9
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    Don't know if this changes anything, but i believe he meant laminotomy instead of laminectomy.

    Anyways, I am seeing a 3rd and final opinion tomorrow with a more conservative surgeon, he didn't recommend surgery for one of his patients i heard that was at 45 degrees, so it should be more interesting what he says about mine.

    Thanks.
    31 yr old male with non-progressive Idiopathic scoliosis

    15-37 degrees- upper thoracic ( w/ left shoulder trap higher, head tilted more to the right)
    45-52 degrees- mid thoracic (to the right, w/ rib hump)
    25-30 degrees- lumbosacral curve (to the left w/ lumbar hump, right pelvis is higher than left)

    currently doing schroth exercises and counter postural techniques("side shifting")
    using rib and lumbar support belts. still contemplative about surgery.

    >>My X-ray<<

  10. #10
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    Jinseeker,

    I have the same reservations about this doctor that other's seem to share. I wouldn't go doctor shopping for a conservative doctor, either. I would go to the BEST doctor! These well known doctors do so many of these surgeries that they don't need YOU to pad their wallets. This doctor that you saw sounded more like a salesman than a doctor. These surgeries aren't cheap...cough, cough...they are VERY expensive.

    I have a curve magnitude "similar" to yours. I have not had surgery. However, I went from a state of mild to moderate pain having "episodes" of severe pain to being in constant pain. I'm 45. I also have DDD in my CERVICAL discs. Don't be fooled that the lumbar is the only place that can be affected. But I've had dry cervical discs since I was at least 29, maybe younger. My curve pattern is very odd. I also have DDD in L5/S1. But, then again, I've had pain there since I was 29. My heart is misshapen because of my scoliosis even though it is <50o curve. My scoli doctor said that these surgeries actually REDUCE lung capacity. So I wouldn't have surgery for that reason. While your doctor says he would be saving your lumbar from future degeneration, he would actually be taking out TWO of your five lumbar vertebrae. You will be in the hospital for about a week if everything goes smoothly. Don't let that guy lead you to believe that it's a week in the hospital and you're all better with no restrictions. It's a longer time recovering from these surgeries depending on your age, of course.

    My DIL had to be fused when she was 16. Her scoliosis was progressive and very badly rotated. She now has lower back pain at the ripe old age of 23. She was fused from T2 to L1, I believe. She also has lower back pain AND neck pain that she didn't have before. Her range of motion is limited. Although mine is just as limited or close to as limited as hers because of the stiffness of my curves. My DIL had INTENSE pain for at least two weeks after surgery. After a month she was able to get off the narcotics, but was still sore and relied on OTC medication. She said it took her about 6 months to feel better. That's a 16 year old! Recovery time does get longer with age, so I wouldn't expect to be back on your feet in a month.

    Ultimately, the decision is yours. I may have surgery someday, or I may not. I think the heart thing will be a deciding factor for me OR if my DDD gets worse in my neck. Then, at that, I will be left with a fusion above my already stressed L5/S1 disc. I don't know what would eventually happen there. My surgeon said that if he did surgery on me now, he WILL hurt me more. But he also told me that my fusion would extend from likely C7 to L1 or L2. I can just foresee, if I did that, having to have a revision all the way down because of my already degenerative L5/S1.

    An anesthesiologist once told me that a pretty straight spine is NOT a pain free spine.

    Ultimately with me at this point, I wish my mother would have consented for me to have the surgery when I was 17. It would all be behind me and perhaps my lower curve (used to be in the teens and now is about 37o) would not have progressed. I have rotation in my lumbar now, even though it looks straight. I went as far as all the pre-surgery testing, speaking to the lab guys to donate my own blood and then no surgery happened. My mom said I was scared and didn't want it. I don't remember it that way AT ALL. I think it was the other way around. During my pre-surgery testing I shared a room with another girl that was just brought back from her surgery. She was screaming and I think it freaked my mom out. I really thought I was going to have surgery at 17!

    Sorry I couldn't find my 2012 x-rays. They are a little more telling.

    Here is a link to my 2010 x-ray so you can get an idea of what mine looks like:
    !cid_3358424367_1270577.jpg, !cid_3358424367_1239617.jpg

    I have NO idea why an external link of the same x-ray without the markings is showing up here. I removed it from this post and it's showing up on my preview anyway, grrr. I'll get this system figured out EVENTUALLY. LOL
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Be happy!
    We don't know what tomorrow brings,
    but we are alive today!

  11. #11
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    Jinseeker,

    Okay, here is the 2005 x-ray: 2005%20radiograph[1].jpg

    Here is the 2012 x-ray:02.12.13_001_.jpg

    You can see the progression, especially in that lower curve! This is after my spine had been stable for about 20 years! When I was 29, I reached the over 40o mark on the upper curve. As you can see in the 2005 curves that the lower curve looks almost non-existent. It was even smaller when I was a teenager. THAT'S why I kind of wish my mom would have said YES to the surgery when I was 17. I truly believe that my lumbar would have NEVER been involved and it would have been a relatively short fusion compared to what I'm looking at now. This progression that you see here all took place in my 40's. You can see how much less even my hips are. You can also see the rotation despite the fact that the lumbar appears pretty darn straight. That left hip sits way forward and is much higher than it used to be.

    But, hey, if you can wait until you are in your 40's before you start having progression or major pain issues, they may have better spine surgery techniques.
    Lot's of people have this surgery in their 40's!!! I don't know where that doctor got his assumption that 40 year old patients were too old and had too many complications. Maybe HIS complication rates went way up because he's not as skilled of a surgeon?

    There are reasons why you SHOULD go ahead with surgery and there are reasons why you should NOT have surgery. YOU are the only one that can decide for yourself. No one on this forum, no matter how much knowledge, experience, or otherwise lives in YOUR body. Only YOU know how you feel. If you do decide on surgery, PLEASE choose your surgeon wisely. That alone could be the determining factor on whether you ever need a revision or not. I'm not saying every great surgeon's patients never need revisions. But, your chances of a good outcome are much better with a skilled surgeon.

    But, you can see from my example that even 30o's isn't protective from progression. That lower curve used to be in the teens and wasn't even counted. I was considered to have one major, upper thoracic curve. Now I have a double major curve (my doctor's words) or what others would consider a double thoracic curve. My lumbar is NOW involved, whereas it didn't used to be.

    Take Care!
    Be happy!
    We don't know what tomorrow brings,
    but we are alive today!

  12. #12
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    Jin

    I see you are gaining valuable experience in the interview process, learning how to hire, and learning who to trust.....

    I knew that my surgeon had what it took from the get go, but still took 2-1/2 years to decide. He never pushed.....and it was ALL my decision. Actually in the end, it was the other way around and he didn’t want to do my surgeries. I was rejected and he made me beg. It was more of a teaching process that my surgeon used on me which was very wise. When your good, there is no rush, and education is part of the process.

    In fact, when my 2 cervical herniation’s erupted like a volcano last April, there was an education process about ACDF anterior cervical surgery. He showed me the hardware, explained how everything would be done, but as far as doing it, that was a different story, that had to wait......(since surgery is always a last ditch effort). Linda even reminded me of this at that time. You sometimes forget these things when in major pain.....Herniation’s are extremely painful, I have had 6 of them now. 4 fused, 2 unfused.

    Best to go in blind and not say that so and so said this or that.....In other words, do not sway the decision.....Making a surgical decision at age 30 is a really hard decision......If you don’t have pain, and many want to get it done to get it done as if its on a checklist of things to do, that’s not a reason to have surgery.....

    I agree with all the posts above and especially Linda’s response which is spot on.

    You have plenty of time right now.....your scoliosis icon is a small one on your desktop, its there off to the side and try not to click on it much. If pain hits later on in your life, that icon will become larger and possibly blink red. That’s when you can click on it.....In other words, live your life and try not to worry about it too much, its not worth it.

    Funny how when icons blink, they want your credit card number. (smiley face) $29.95

    Ed
    Last edited by titaniumed; 03-06-2014 at 09:57 PM.
    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

  13. #13
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    Regarding pulmonary issues, you should definitely take those facts into your decision. I think thoracic curves in adults are less likely to progress than lumbar curves. But, let's say they behave like the most aggressive curves, and progress at ~1-1/2 degrees a year. By the time you're 60, you could have an 70 degree thoracic curve. At 80 degrees, some people start becoming symptomatic. On the other hand, the thoracic curve might not progress at all, and you'll never have any pulmonary issue. I'd personally give it at least 15 years to see what will happen. If your thoracic curve has progressed quickly during that time, you can weigh the risks and rewards at that time. Also, scoliosis surgery comes with significant risks, so you can't weigh pulmonary issues against nothing.

    --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
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    103
    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    Regarding pulmonary issues, you should definitely take those facts into your decision. I think thoracic curves in adults are less likely to progress than lumbar curves. But, let's say they behave like the most aggressive curves, and progress at ~1-1/2 degrees a year. By the time you're 60, you could have an 70 degree thoracic curve. At 80 degrees, some people start becoming symptomatic. On the other hand, the thoracic curve might not progress at all, and you'll never have any pulmonary issue. I'd personally give it at least 15 years to see what will happen. If your thoracic curve has progressed quickly during that time, you can weigh the risks and rewards at that time. Also, scoliosis surgery comes with significant risks, so you can't weigh pulmonary issues against nothing.

    --Linda
    All I can say is, for the past 10 years so far it hasn't progressed at all. In fact I feel my shoulders are now more even than when I was 19, (mainly due to doing schroth and adapting to a new posture). But then again, as many mentioned problems of progression may occur in the 40s like it did with rohrer.

    My question is if those elderly patients doing quite well you are seeing now more or less have had their thoracic curves(40-50deg) remain stable over time. I don't even need to count those over 50 for a comparison. I guess another factor is gender. I am male, but I could be just as susceptible.

    Hopefully someone could point out a follow-up research study paper or article on progression of AI scoliosis over 40 deg in adults over time. From many sources I have researched, all say that it does progress anywhere from .3 - 1 degree per year over time. Which makes me want to consider surgery even more.

    @ titaniumed: May i know what your curves were back when you were in your 20s or after skeletal maturity?
    Last edited by Jinseeker; 03-07-2014 at 12:32 AM.
    31 yr old male with non-progressive Idiopathic scoliosis

    15-37 degrees- upper thoracic ( w/ left shoulder trap higher, head tilted more to the right)
    45-52 degrees- mid thoracic (to the right, w/ rib hump)
    25-30 degrees- lumbosacral curve (to the left w/ lumbar hump, right pelvis is higher than left)

    currently doing schroth exercises and counter postural techniques("side shifting")
    using rib and lumbar support belts. still contemplative about surgery.

    >>My X-ray<<

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    3,549
    Quote Originally Posted by Jinseeker View Post
    titaniumed: May i know what your curves were back when you were in your 20s or after skeletal maturity?
    I had twin 50 degree curves, a well balanced ďSĒ curve. That was in 1974 Age 15 Discovered after being in a car wreck.

    My spine didnít seem to move much for quite a few years, then in 1993 I had a T58, L66. Age 35 The x-ray was taken after a brutal ski crash. Notice the spondy at T11/T12. It did shift back after a few months....See x-ray below

    When I was 41, I was skiing on ESPN and landed especially hard off a jump (On camera, ice landing) then 14 days later, the extreme spasms hit. My first experience with a major pain episode....

    When I was 43, I landed hard off a ski jump and that started the downward spiral with sciatica.....January 2002. 4 lumbar herniationís were discovered after a CT scan. This was the end of the ski jumping. Started Celebrex, my first NSAID use...No other meds were taken.

    In October 2007, I had a T70, L70 Age 49. My pain was completely out of control....it was amazing I didnít have a heart attack from pain.

    Funny how with all the physical abuse, you would think my curves would have progressed at alarming rates but they didnít. It was a different story with my discs....they donít like abuse. I ruined my discs with all the crashes.

    Now, my knees, hips, and my ankles hurt but Iím not a good example for post full fusion since old pro level skiers pay a steep price.

    Ed

    ed 1993.jpg
    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

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