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Thread: August 8 upcoming surgery with Dr. Lenke/ questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    75

    August 8 upcoming surgery with Dr. Lenke/ questions

    Hi, everyone. This is my first time posting on this forum. I first learned I had scoliosis around 1992 when seeing a surgeon about problems in the cervical part of my spine. It didn't concern me too much as my mother had scoliosis and it didn't affect her although she had 3 different surgeries for herniated disks.*
    About four years ago I started losing height and have lost 5 inches since then. That is a lot when you start out at only 5ft. 2 in. I'm now 4'9". Three years ago I saw several spine surgeons and the last one I saw was at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. He said I should not have surgery until I was in unbearable pain as he said this surgery is "worse than having a heart transplant." That discouraged me and so I dropped my search until last summer when I talked to someone in my city, Columbia,SC, who had had surgery by Dr. Lenke. They were so pleased with their results that I made an appointment immediately with him. I saw him in November and his first available surgery date for me was this coming August 8. I go next week on June 19 & 20 for my pre-surgery tests. I have a 67 degree lumbar curve. His diagnosis is degenerative Lumbar Scoliosis, stenosis L5-S1, coronal and sagittal imbalance, kyphosis. My surgical procedure is: posterior fusion T2-sacrum/ilium, decompression L5-s1, transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion L4-L5,L5/S1.*

    I will be having intraoperative halo traction and that causes me some concern because of the issues in my cervical spine. (3 vertebra fused together on their own about 20 years ago) Did any of you have halo traction during surgery?

    Since I saw him in November I have been having more pain from my lower rib pressing down hard on my pelvis. Also now lying down has become more uncomfortable, especially turn
    Ing over in bed.

    I have been working our with a trainer twice a week for the past 3 years to remain strong and walking.
    As I will be 67 in November I guess I will be the oldest in this group having surgery. Your comments have educated me a lot about what this surgery will be like.

    I have 3 children and 3 grandchildren, soon to be 5 grandchildren as one of my sons is flying to Latvia on Father's Day to adopt 2 children they hosted last year!

    Two other small question's: will I ever again be able to get down into a tub for a tub bath and will I be able to raise my arms overhead to blow dry and curl my hair? Not high on the scale of importance but would like to know. This was a long post. Whew!
    Jane

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    213
    Hi Jane,

    I had the surgery about nine months ago and it is pretty much from tippy top to the bottom. You can see my spine photos in the link below.

    I never had the traction, but several of my vertibra were already fused together, so my surgeon straightened everything he could as best as he could and he did not break the fused ones--and although the correction is tons better than before, I still have a slight curve, but the rib hump is much less on the right side.

    I will state this: my surgeon was very conservative in letting the vertibra stay fused. I think some surgeons break them apart to make them straight. I think it depends on the style of the surgeon and other factors (I would assume would be age, bone density, etc).

    Regarding bathtubs. I have a small tub and I didn't use it for a good six months because I felt like I couldn't get out of it. Even now, it's a bit of manipulation to turn my body (it now doesn't hurt when I do that) so can push myself out of the tub. The one thing I do have in the tub are waterproof pillows to lean back against. If you read my other posts--always think soft for surfaces!

    This is the pillow I have in my tub:
    http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/prod...777636&RN=182&

    I can raise my arms above my head pretty much after surgery--I was able to put on t-shirts....

    Best of luck during you surgery. Will say prayers for you!
    Discovered scoliosis when 15 years old.
    Wore Milwaulkee Brace for 1.5 years.
    Top curve 85 degrees, bottom curve 60 degrees

    Surgery completed August 23, 2011 (during an earthquake, can you believe that?)
    Dr. Charles Edwards, II
    The Spine Center at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore, MD
    Before and after xrays:
    http://www.valley-designs.com/myspine

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    75

    Thank you!

    I will get one of the pillows to use now and hopefully in the future be able to take baths after my surgery. My legs are strong now but think it might be difficult to get up out of a tub as I won't be able to work out as I have been for the past several years.
    Jane

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    129

    Hi Jane!

    Hi Jane,
    It was so very nice to talk to you on the phone! Please keep me updated (with another call) after your pre op appointment. I have found this site very helpful.
    Take care!
    Heidi
    Scheduled for surgery with Dr. Lenke Oct. 2012
    53*T 71*L
    Surgery 10/05/2012 T4-pelvis
    Correction: looks perfect! Will find out how perfect at future appointments

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    El Centro, CA & Baja California, Mexico
    Posts
    193

    Would have missed you in St Louis

    Hi Jane,
    I am going back to see Dr Bridwell July 5th & 6th for a flouroscopy and surgical scheduling (they think 2-3 months out). When I saw him in the beginning of May, he had me take a bunch of xrays, pulmonary test, MRI and threadmill eval. I was frustrated about not being able to have all this done in one shot but seeing that Dr Lenke is booking a year ahead makes me feel more OK (I guess it is the sentiment that I can't express).

    Please keep us posted as to your visit and how long will you be in St Louis?

    This is a great forum and wished we could one day meet and compare our happiness of the after surgery...

    gardenia
    ccmail4g@gmail.com (if you like to exchange support feelings etc)
    Gardenia
    Baja California, Mexico & El Centro, Ca
    pre-surgery 75° and 89° - post ?
    Dr. Bridwell Nov 27, 2012 @Barnes Jewish @62yrs
    T11 to Sacrum Dural leak at L2 & L3 ccmail4g@gmail.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Chelsea, MI
    Posts
    53
    Hi Jane,
    Isn't the forum great? I bet you are excited / nervous as August 8th gets closer! We all remember how nerve wracking that time was!
    I had surgery w/ Dr Lenke in August 2010. I had severe lumber stenosis, my curves were 91 and 86 degrees. I had had a fusion in 1967, so two sections of my spine were fused. Dr Lenke did saw through some of the fused lumbar area. Now I am fused T1 to sacrum. Because of the prior fusion, I did not get the dramatic results that some people get, my curves are now about 50 and 45, but they won't progress!
    I was 100% thrilled with the results of my surgery. I have much more stamina now, and it's a relief to have my ribcage off of my pelvis. I can get into a tub, and lift my arms over my head, no problem (and basically do everything I could do before except w/ a straight back). The fact that you are working out and staying flexible and active will help you a LOT!
    Nancy
    Age 58
    Surgery w/ Dr Lenke August 23, 2010
    original curves 91 thoracic, 86 lumbar
    fused T1 to sacrum, new curves 50 and 45

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    129

    pre op appt. today

    Jane,
    Just wanted you to know that I was thinking about you today! How did it go? Tell us about your day
    Heidi
    Scheduled for surgery with Dr. Lenke Oct. 2012
    53*T 71*L
    Surgery 10/05/2012 T4-pelvis
    Correction: looks perfect! Will find out how perfect at future appointments

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    75

    August 8 surgery changed to July 23!

    Guess I should change the name of this thread as my surgery has been changed to July 28! I had wanted it to be earlier as I have been waiting since November but had adjusted to the idea of August. Now I will have to scramble to get everything ready. My new grandchildren come from Latvia less than two weeks before my surgery so I won't have too much time to get to know them. My surgery is now on a Monday so we will have to fly back to St. Louis on Thursday, July 19 to have my central line put in Friday morning, then have my anesthesia appointment, another MRI of my lumbar area and then to the hospital Monday morning at 5:30am for 7:30 am surgery. Dr. Lenke now says he will fuse from T-4 to the sacrum. His nurse said all of the hardware in my back will weigh about 3 lbs.! He said it would be 8-9 hours of surgery. I have learned a lot already from this forum. As this date is quickly draws closer I find I'm getting a little nervous. My husband is very supportive but still wishes I were not having this surgery. We met a patient of Dr. Lenke's in the waiting room who was just 7 weeks post-op. She looked really good and has already cut way back on her pain meds. She lives in St. Louis and was there for her first post surgery check. I noticed she had a bed pillow behind her back and had been waiting about 2 hours by the time we met. She said she had driven only around the block in her neighborhood at this point.
    I may post more tomorrow as our plane was delayed and we had to drive home from the Charlotte airport late last night and didn't get to bed until 1am last night! (hope my flight after surgery goes better, we had a thunderstorm and a bumpy ride for a while.)
    Jane

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    3,974
    Jane

    Just wanted to welcome you to the forum.

    I had no problems getting into and out of my tub....I have a large and deep tub and took many HOT baths in my recovery, it worked well for pain.....I also had no problems reaching my head in the shower, even if it was only 1 arm since my right shoulder was broken when I did my scoli surgeries....(smiley face) What can I say? stuff happens.

    You are a brave one. I also had many that were saying “don’t do it” as they were very scared.....this happens to all of us.

    I got to the point where the pain made my decision....

    Deep breaths now....you are almost there.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 60, 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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    United Kingdom, Leeds
    Posts
    128
    Quote Originally Posted by jane d View Post
    Guess I should change the name of this thread as my surgery has been changed to July 28! I had wanted it to be earlier as I have been waiting since November but had adjusted to the idea of August. Now I will have to scramble to get everything ready. My new grandchildren come from Latvia less than two weeks before my surgery so I won't have too much time to get to know them. My surgery is now on a Monday so we will have to fly back to St. Louis on Thursday, July 19 to have my central line put in Friday morning, then have my anesthesia appointment, another MRI of my lumbar area and then to the hospital Monday morning at 5:30am for 7:30 am surgery. Dr. Lenke now says he will fuse from T-4 to the sacrum. His nurse said all of the hardware in my back will weigh about 3 lbs.! He said it would be 8-9 hours of surgery. I have learned a lot already from this forum. As this date is quickly draws closer I find I'm getting a little nervous. My husband is very supportive but still wishes I were not having this surgery. We met a patient of Dr. Lenke's in the waiting room who was just 7 weeks post-op. She looked really good and has already cut way back on her pain meds. She lives in St. Louis and was there for her first post surgery check. I noticed she had a bed pillow behind her back and had been waiting about 2 hours by the time we met. She said she had driven only around the block in her neighborhood at this point.
    I may post more tomorrow as our plane was delayed and we had to drive home from the Charlotte airport late last night and didn't get to bed until 1am last night! (hope my flight after surgery goes better, we had a thunderstorm and a bumpy ride for a while.)
    Jane
    Wow Jane,

    Good result in getting your surgery moved forward, especially if you've only been waiting since Nov. I say only just because I was referred back to my surgeon for full fusion in Oct 2010 and am still waiting. I'm currently trying to kick up a fuss with the hospital. In the UK the NHS say that they will see you within 18wks of referral and treat you within 18wks of your first appointment so they are about 12 mths late with me. Their rules now so they have an obligation to transfer me as a priority surgery so fingers crossed.

    You won't have as much time to get organised but I'm sure your husband and family will keep everything going whilst your recovering. I know you will be nervous but you must be so excited as well. :-)

    My curves are similar to yours, didn't know the hardware would weigh approx 3lb! didn't think of that for some reason. Least we can knock that off when we're on the scales :-)

    Good Luck with the surgery!! keep everyone posted
    27 yr old Female.
    Scoliosis since 12yrs, fusion to lower curve in 1998, costioplast 2001 and further corrective surgery 26 July 2012.
    Now the proud owner of a very straight spine. T1- L5 fusion.
    Mr Dunsmuir, Orthopaedic Surgeon, LGI Leeds.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    129

    Call me!

    I am glad your pre op appointment went well. I would love to hear details. What did they say about the plane ride home? how long did they tell you to stay at an area hotel? I am glad your surgery got moved up...mine got pushed back 2 days. Take care and talk to you soon, Heidi
    Scheduled for surgery with Dr. Lenke Oct. 2012
    53*T 71*L
    Surgery 10/05/2012 T4-pelvis
    Correction: looks perfect! Will find out how perfect at future appointments

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    571
    Quote Originally Posted by hasteffen View Post
    I am glad your pre op appointment went well. I would love to hear details. What did they say about the plane ride home? how long did they tell you to stay at an area hotel? I am glad your surgery got moved up...mine got pushed back 2 days. Take care and talk to you soon, Heidi
    Hi Jane,

    It’s great that you’ve got an earlier date. This waiting must be the hardest part, but you’re almost there! I have the same questions as Heidi (hasteffen) about the flight back and for how long would you stay in a local hotel after the surgery. Or maybe you’re going to a rehab facility after the surgery?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    75

    Thanks to all of you

    I won't know if I will have to go to rehab until they see how I do after surgery. They said I would be in the hospital for about a week and didn't tell me how long to stay afterwards. If I don't go to rehab our plans are to stay in the connecting hotel until the Friday after spending a week in the hospital which would put me flying home about 11 days after surgery. My husband has already booked our return flight but can change it if necessary. This week we flew from St. Louis to Charlotte and then drove almost 2 hours back to Columbia. After the surgery, we have a different flight. We would have to be at the airport around 7am and will fly to Atlanta and then directly to Columbia and then drive about 20 min. to our home. We booked two one way tickets so we will be flying back first class.(have never done that.) Hopefully the flight won't be as bumpy from storms as the one this week. We were on a smaller connector plane this week and had to also go down stairs to the Tarmac to get our luggage. After all I've read on this forum I do plan to take a twin size memory foam topper to use on the bed in the hotel.

    I have been waiting for this surgery for the past 3 years and have seen many good surgeons so it is hard to believe that it soon will be happening!
    Jane

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    348

    Upcoming surgery with Lenke too~~~

    Hi Jane, I saw your post and it caught my eye as I also will be having surgery with Dr. Lenke. I saw him May 16th, and won't have surgery till Feb 13th, 2013. Oh my, it seems forever. I have had two previous huge surgeries that didn't work. It was because of lack of experience. They were to correct a fusion I had on L3/4 L4/5 in 2006. I developed adult onset scoliosis and a severe saggital imbalance and thus I had the two revision surgeries in 2010. I looked around and finially found Dr. Lenke on this site. And then sent everything to his team. I was thrilled to get in to see him. He said at my appt. he would be reinforcing me from the front(not done previously) and also lots of other techniques that he will be using on me to make it a success. I also will be fused from top to bottom. (10 hr. surgery) all posterior. I am bent over in front so my ribs are crashing into my pelvis bones. And I have a lot of pain most the time. I am 60 yrs. old. I canott walk without a walker. Well, I can, but I pitch forward and fall downward . It's very painful.
    I am so happy for you and will be following your posts to see how things turn out. I am in So. Dak.(central). So it is quite a drive to St. Louis. But we have a son in Lawrence Ks. that breaks the trip up for us. That's four hrs. from St. Louis. You said you will be in a "halo". Interesting~~ I don't think laying back in a tub would be very comfortable after a huge fusion.(down the road) But you will just have to see. We are all a little different. And you truley should be able to blow dry your hair. I have curley hair too! It can be a pain at times. You are going to be just fine. I have all the confidence in the world when it comes to Dr. Lenke. Breath easy, and know I will be thinking of you. Warm Blessings for you~~Linda
    Linda Brozik~~60 yrs. old at time of Lenke's first surgery. 62 now!
    Surgery 2006 L3/4 L4/5 double fusion/ instumentation/ With 2 cages
    This started adult onset scoliosis
    July 1st, 2010/ surgery ~~fused T10 to pelvis (long rods/ screws)
    Oct.20th 2010, extended rods to T4 / did osteotomy at L3
    Oct. 29th 2012 Dr. Lenke St. Louis Mo. T4 to sacrum osteotomy anterior cage L3/4 titanium rods
    May 30th 2013 revision
    May 8th cervicle surgery 2016
    May 31st Dr. Gupta revision 2017

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,707
    Jane,
    I know you are probably feeling a little rushed, but it's good that your surgery was moved up. I waited (and worried) for 13 months, and although some cancellations opened up, they didn't work for me. Please feel free to email me: pottoff@htc.net I will give you my phone number if you are interested in talking sometime. The pre-surgery time was extremely stressful for me as I was petrified and doubting myself constantly. Not being in pain, made it difficult to elect to have major surgery. I have not regretted it for a single day. Choosing a top-notch surgeon is half of the battle-actually more like 98%. I have tons of faith in Dr. Lenke and his staff and would recommend him to anyone. Best of luck!
    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/

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