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Thread: Debating standalone Thoracoplasty surgery after fusion.

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014

    Debating standalone Thoracoplasty surgery after fusion.

    I am 17 years old and received by full spinal fusion in July 2014 to correct my 60 and 50 S curve. The curve has dramatically decreased but I am unhappy with my ribhump on my right side. My doctor, Robert Berstein in Beverly Hills, did not tell me about thoracoplasty and now I am considering a standalone surgery to remove the rib hump. It is noticeable with clothes on. I want to ask for people's experience on here who have had a Thoracoplasty SEPARATE from their fusion. From what I understand, you can receive this surgery once the back has been fused and stable.

    -How is your quality of life after? Pain and activities back to normal?
    -Is it sore or tender even after the ribs have filly healed?
    -Some people say they cannot lie on that side even after it has healed. Is this true?
    -How bad is the pain during recovery?
    -What are the risks that your doctor discussed with you?
    -Do you regret having this?

    I am debating whether it is worth it. I am discussing with my doctor during my 6 momth check up next next week. Please help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern California
    Hi Babe...

    I know you posted this in the under 18 forum, but I suspect you won't find anyone who has had the procedure. If you do a search of the word thoracoplasty (search box above), I think you may find a few previous discussions. Thoracoplasties are pretty rare these days.

    I can tell you one thing from the dozen or so people I know who had the procedure done. They can be very painful for 6-8 weeks.

    You might want to ask your surgeon how many they've done. I've seen a few thoracoplasties done by a surgeon who didn't have much experience, and I would say the result was significantly less than desirable.

    I'll be curious whether you can get your insurance company to pay for the procedure since it's essentially cosmetic surgery.

    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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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    You can ask your surgeon to put you in touch with other patients who have had similar thoracoplasties done by him. Then get in touch with them and ask them for their experiences. I did this prior to my fusion surgery, and it was very helpful to speak to two other women who had similar situations as mine.

    Good luck with your decision.
    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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by leahdragonfly View Post

    You can ask your surgeon to put you in touch with other patients who have had similar thoracoplasties done by him. Then get in touch with them and ask them for their experiences. I did this prior to my fusion surgery, and it was very helpful to speak to two other women who had similar situations as mine.

    Good luck with your decision.
    That's great advice. Thank you!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Babe, after you chat with him, please let us know what he thinks about thoracoplasty.....

    I was just wondering how your surgery turned out? Everything else turn out ok?

    Usually, we have a slight rib hump after our surgeries and it usually isnít that bad when you think about it.....If your worried about guys noticing and feel that they might not like it, well then its an advantage because it will weed out all the losers for you.....(smiley face)

    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

    My x-rays

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    San Francicsco Bay Area

    Rib hum/sticking out shoulder blade and scars

    I just wanted to say that I TOTALLY understand how you feel about your rib hump. I had surgery thirty years ago, and my rib hump - (that is, my right shoulder blade) was not improved at all. So, I have lived with it sticking out my whole life and it has NEVER stopped bothering me on a cosmetic level. My curve after surgery was still 47 degrees, and the rib hump was and is prominent. From the side, I feel like I look like a hunchback. Many times I've wondered why I couldn't just get the bone shaved down or something. And yes, I did consider a thorocoplasty. My solution was to keep my hair long. I stand with my back to my hairdresser, and he cuts it so that it just covers the top of the shoulder blade, and this seems to be long enough so that it is not noticeable. I'm almost fifty now, and I still wear my hair long. Of course I also wear it up quite a bit, and those times I try to wear a cardigan or a coat so it's not as noticeable. And I avoid super clingy fabrics. I think the fact that those of us with corrected Scoliosis are standing straight up helps; that is, we are not hunched over unless we're in pain. I myself had a career as a performer and was on the stage a lot, and with my hair up. The shoulder blade sticking out is not as noticeable as one might think. But it it bothers you and since you're young, I hope you will follow your instincts and do everything you can do make yourself feel and look better. The surgeon would probably be able to find a way for the insurance to cover it. After all, having a shoulder blade that sticks out is not comfortable, and so he could say that you needed it to reduce pain and discomfort.

    The thing that bugs me is my long spinal scar. The cosmetic surgeons have told me that there is no way to remove it, and while under surgery for Liposuction years ago, I had the doc use dermabrasion on it, but it didn't do anything. I am still very self-conscious about it and frankly at this point I am going to go for a tattoo to cover at least the top of it. Maybe a long pretty vine or something.

    Wishing you the best,

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