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  1. #1
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    Compensatory Curves

    Hi,

    I'm new to the forum and have a question regarding compensatory curves. When I went for a second surgical opinion, the surgeon insisted that my 45* thoracic curve was structural and my 50* lumbar curve is my compensatory curve. Now I know that my lumbar curve is structural, as this is the curve that was treated while I was a teenager. By the time I had finished growing my lumbar curve measured 36* and I did not have a thoracic curve; that came later. The surgeon also told me it is unusual to have a compensatory thoracic curve, usually it's the other way around.

    Another surgeon told me he would only fix my lumbar curve and let the compensatory thoracic curve self correct.

    Perhaps this is a question Linda could answer.

    Thanks,

    Diane

  2. #2
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    Jan 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by danicaf View Post
    Hi,

    I'm new to the forum and have a question regarding compensatory curves. When I went for a second surgical opinion, the surgeon insisted that my 45* thoracic curve was structural and my 50* lumbar curve is my compensatory curve. Now I know that my lumbar curve is structural, as this is the curve that was treated while I was a teenager. By the time I had finished growing my lumbar curve measured 36* and I did not have a thoracic curve; that came later. The surgeon also told me it is unusual to have a compensatory thoracic curve, usually it's the other way around.

    Another surgeon told me he would only fix my lumbar curve and let the compensatory thoracic curve self correct.

    Perhaps this is a question Linda could answer.

    Thanks,

    Diane
    Hi and welcome, Diane.

    I am wondering if there was some miscommunication with the surgeon. The larger curve is never the compensatory curve to my knowledge. And the only way he could determine that is if you did bending films. Did you do bending films?

    It is not unusual to have a thoracic compensatory curve with a structural lumbar curve to my knowledge. What kind of doctor was this? I am guessing this was not an experienced orthopedic surgeon who knows spine. None of this is making sense if you are reporting it accurately.

    The surgeon who said he would only fuse the structural curve is correct as far as I know. I would never allow a surgeon to fuse a non-structural curve on my kids.

    So your lumbar was 36* at maturity and progressed to surgical range in how many years?

    I hope you get some competent opinions from now on.

    And finally, yes, Linda can answer this. :-)
    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."

  3. #3
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    Feb 2014
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    The second opinion was from a surgeon listed with the SRS. He is a neurosurgeon, as well as an orthopedic surgeon. He recommended fusing me from T2 or T3 to the pelvis, which would hit both curves. He ordered bending films which, I'm assuming, will bear out that my lumbar is indeed the structural curve.

    I was around 15 when I stopped growing, and 5' 2 3/4" tall. I am now 55 and 5' 1", in the morning. So, I have lost almost 2 inches in height. I know we shrink as we get older but this loss in height came on pretty quickly.

    The first surgeon I saw did his fellowship with Dr. DeWald from Rush in Chicago. He wanted me to get the second opinion from DeWald but my insurance sent me to Loyola. The original surgeon wants to perform a minimally invasive surgery and only fuse me T5 to L4 or 5. The second surgeon from Loyola doesn't believe that minimally invasive techniques are appropriate for this type of surgery and that the corrections are poor. He also feels not to fuse to the pelvis would only lead to revision down the road.

    I think I'll seek that third opinion from Dr. DeWald at Rush.

    Diane

  4. #4
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    Well I am dying to hear what Linda says. And also what Dr. DeWald says, especially if you relate the statements from the other surgeons that you related here. It just doesn't make any sense. Could the second surgeon have said your thoracic curve is now ALSO structural? It seems like some single structural curves become double structural curves if not fused in time. You probably only originally had a structural lumbar curve and a compensatory thoracic curve.
    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."

  5. #5
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    Feb 2014
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Pooka1 View Post
    Well I am dying to hear what Linda says. And also what Dr. DeWald says, especially if you relate the statements from the other surgeons that you related here. It just doesn't make any sense. Could the second surgeon have said your thoracic curve is now ALSO structural? It seems like some single structural curves become double structural curves if not fused in time. You probably only originally had a structural lumbar curve and a compensatory thoracic curve.
    Surgeon #2 was pretty insistent that my structural curve was thoracic. I liked everything else he had to say, well, except fusing me to the pelvis...that I didn't care for too much.

    I have xrays and an MRI that I need to attach. I find them distressing to look at...I look much better on the outside!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by danicaf View Post
    Surgeon #2 was pretty insistent that my structural curve was thoracic.
    Yes but did he say your lumbar was not also structural?
    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."

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