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Thread: Is surgery worth having?

  1. #106
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    If I understand correctly, tethering is intended not just to postpone fusion but to avoid it. If you have a structural curve that is corrected enough with tethering, I think the intention is that will avoid fusion.

    I really wish this was an option for my daughters but they presented several years too soon. I am just glad they have a shot at not needing any more surgery once they had their T curves fused.

    Have you determined if your lowest curve is compensatory or structural? Have you done bending radiographs?
    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."

  2. #107
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Yes, Sharon, it is expected that the tethering would mean no fusion in the future. There are no studies twenty years out, naturally, but if necessary the tether could be replaced and the patient drive on as before.

    Even in patients with two curves, the lower one is now being tethered, as well. Sometimes as a double tether (with one for the thoracic curve, then a second one for the lumbar curve.) Some patients with stiffer or larger curves have received a hybrid procedure with a thoracic fusion over a lumbar tether. The things these surgeons are doing! To date, there is no 'high' tethering; most surgeons can't or won't go above T5 for various reasons. But for some with a high curve, it responds well to the thoracic tethering and reduces some.

    VBT isn't for everyone, naturally. There are still strict considerations that many don't meet.

    Restrictions are typically lifted after six weeks, but that varies with individual surgeons. Some are waiting longer.

    Stefan, there are physical therapists trained in teaching Schroth exercises. Like anything, their skills and experience vary; I'd probably use word of mouth to find a reputable one to get you started. There do seem to be PTs willing to claim and sell any kind of dream to eager patients, so I'd encourage you to do your homework well if you take that route. If you do talk to an experienced scoliosis surgeon that you like and trust, s/he can probably suggest a reliable therapist.
    Emily, 43
    approx 50 T, 36 T/L

  3. #108
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by 3sisters View Post
    Meanwhile, to help you deal with your discomfort while you consider everything, you might want to try a scoliosis specific program of exercises. I have personally pursued them (Schroth) and they did improve the appearance and feeling of my spine, although questionably the actual curvature. It's a way to help make it through these times. When I was measured after a period of Schroth exercising, my rotation in my curves had improved by 5 and 10 ATR. (Down to 10 ATR over 5 ATR, from about 15 over 15 ATR pre-exercises.) Since balance and appearance is important to you, it's something you might appreciate. They felt pretty good, too!

    I still can't condemn 'elective' surgery like VBT. I am not a wisened fusion veteran like some here who have seen a lot of good, bad, and ugly- but I feel the benefits of non-fusion surgery are worth it. Have enough advice and opinions yet?!
    Good to hear schroth seems to be doing you good and have given you some temporary cosmetic improvements. For me it only helped with the pain, not reduce the rib hump. Curious to know how often do you do it to have results and how long per exercise? Do you have a therapist that works with you and is it possible to achieve good results on your own?

    I realized our curves are about the same size and area. Did your curve progress? Perhaps you could share some of the schroth exercises you are doing.
    Last edited by Jinseeker; 10-11-2015 at 02:54 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<<

  4. #109
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Heidelberg, Germany
    will pm you, don't want to hijack Stefan's thread with my personal tangent
    Emily, 43
    approx 50 T, 36 T/L

  5. #110
    Join Date
    Aug 2010


    Quote Originally Posted by Stefandamos View Post
    Hi everyone. Long time reader but first time poster. My question goes out to those of you who have had scoliosis corrective surgery already.

    A little bit of background:
    I am 22 years old, currently working full-time and going to school full-time. I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 12 years old and had an 11 thoracic curvature. Now at my current age I currently have a double curvature of 43T and 35L. However, over the last year, my curve has not progressed and my doctor claims that it most likely won't.

    As of right now I experience almost no pain and only minor discomfort. The thing that gets to me though is the cosmetic appearance of this condition. So my question is, is scoliosis surgery worth getting for mostly cosmetic appearances?

    I understand a lot about the surgery and even have a couple friends who have been through it themselves. I play hockey and go to the gym often and understand that I would have to give those up for the most part.

    All replies are appreciated!

    Wow, lots of long and detailed responses, but I focused on what was asked: is it something to do for mostly cosmetic reasons. NO. This is huge, huge surgery to rebuild the entire architecture of your spine, permanently fusing rigid what was meant to be a very flexible and resilient structure. There are no perfect bodies, try to love the look of yours as it is. If you can do that and then still feel compelled to risk this surgery for true health reasons, that would be a solid reason to proceed. Once done, there is no going back, and also no guarantees you won't have complications and/or more surgeries down the road. Just my opinion.
    Stephanie, age 56
    Diagnosed age 8
    Milwaukee brace 9 years, no further treatment, symptom free and clueless until my 40s that curves could progress.
    Thoracolumbar curve 39 degrees at age 17
    Now somewhere around 58 degrees thoracic, 70 degrees thoracolumbar
    Surgeon Dr. Michael S. O'Brien, Baylor's Southwest Scoliosis Center, Dallas TX
    Bilateral laminectomies at L3 to L4, L4 to L5 and L5 to S1 on April 4, 2012
    Foramenotomies L3 through S1 in August 2014

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