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Thread: 1st Scoliosis Surgery at age 63

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by titaniumed View Post
    Linda, I sure would like to see that x-ray. I am wondering how they managed to set the hooks in on the bottom. I guess they could have ground out a ledge in the bone.?? I also would like to see the bending work for the lumbar lordosis. I have not seen any huge bends in Harrington x-rays, usually they are set in straight.

    Luque rods had that 90 degree bend in them.(See attachment below) They would drill a hole and simply insert the rod into that hole. It also addressed each level with lamina wires, where the Harrington usually did not. It was truly a bumper jack. Some surgeons had used wires with Harrington, but that was used as an adjunct...

    There is a chapter in the Moe handbook written by Dr Hu on wire tying that is involved.(1981) I just couldn't believe how exacting the knot tying is. I don't know if she is using any wires for any orthopedic work, but if I needed wires, she would be the one. They will use wires on Jackie's scapula on her surgery coming up when she heals. I posted that surgical video on one of her threads a month or so ago.

    Brad (Quickdraw) is the only Luque wire example I have seen here on this forum. That was Dr Bradford in 1983 at TCSC when he was 12. I don't forget x-rays like that, Dr Bradford saved his life. His before x-ray was extremely serious.

    NOTE: For readers... They do not use these systems anymore (Maybe in India, for cost effectivness) Not.

    Remember President Obama's comments on that years ago?

    Ed
    They've done a lot of them in India. I had a workbook from a course that I attended in Kansas City many years ago, but tossed it prior to my last move. There were a couple of docs from India who were using Harrington rods that they bent. I don't actually remember what the connection implants looked like.

    Here's a sort of unusual application that included the sacrum. https://www.researchgate.net/figure/...fig1_230723364
    Last edited by LindaRacine; 10-23-2019 at 12:11 AM.
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by susancook View Post
    Nancy, Just wanted to say hi. I hope that my postings are not the ones that scared you. I had my first surgery at 66 for degenerative disc disease with a 24/36 curve and osteoporosis. While I am the poster adult for all that can go wrong in surgery, I still do not regret my initial surgery. My quality of life was very low because of the pain. I will be 73 next week and have had 7 spine surgeries, one ventral hernia, 4 pulmonary emboli, one PJF, and the mother of all: a spinal cord injury with partial paraplegia. Kinda like "A Partridge in a Pear Tree".

    Should you take a leap of faith and have surgery? There lies the million dollar question. For me, it was not really a choice as it seemed like I was rapidly going down the rabbit hole. I was on opioids and could only walk 1/2 block without resting.

    I wish you well.

    Susan
    Hi, Susancook. I find your post of interest because you seem unfazed by having had 7 surgeries in 10 years. That means you must have spent most of your life in those 10 years in a state of recovery from one surgery or another. That means being limited in the kinds of things you can do physically.

    I have had only one surgery so far and while I'm grateful for the chance to solve my problems, I am impatient to recover. It's a drag not being able to do housework or lift things or even pick things up off the floor. Five months later I'm still not close to being able to do those things normally. Even though I knew full recovery would take a year or more, I didn't realize how nuts it would make me. How did you put up with it?

    That's the trouble with getting surgery at a late age. If you're in your 30s or younger you'll recover quickly and probably have many good, uneventful years ahead. In your 60s you have fewer years ahead, so years spent in recovery rob you of a good chunk of your remaining life. With age comes degeneration that may require multiple surgeries. Fusion itself weakens the rest of the spine and puts it at risk, I was told by an orthopedic surgeon (hand specialist, though).
    Last edited by Tina_R; 10-25-2019 at 05:27 PM.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tina_R View Post
    Hi, Susancook. I find your post of interest because you seem unfazed by having had 7 surgeries in 10 years. That means you must have spent most of your life in those 10 years in a state of recovery from one surgery or another. That means being limited in the kinds of things you can do physically.

    I have had only one surgery so far and while I'm grateful for the chance to solve my problems, I am impatient to recover. It's a drag not being able to do housework or lift things or even pick things up off the floor. Five months later I'm still not close to being able to do those things normally. Even though I knew full recovery would take a year or more, I didn't realize how nuts it would make me. How did you put up with it?

    That's the trouble with getting surgery at a late age. If you're in your 30s or younger you'll recover quickly and probably have many good, uneventful years ahead. In your 60s you have fewer years ahead, so years spent in recovery rob you of a good chunk of your remaining life. With age comes degeneration that may require multiple surgeries. Fusion itself weakens the rest of the spine and puts it at risk, I was told by an orthopedic surgeon (hand specialist, though).
    Hi Tina...

    As I mentioned in the other thread, it takes many of us up to 2 years to recover. For me, that was especially true for flexibility. While I'm still not happy with all the loss of flexibility, I was much better at 2 years than I was at 6 months. Hang in there.

    --Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    Hi Tina...

    As I mentioned in the other thread, it takes many of us up to 2 years to recover. For me, that was especially true for flexibility. While I'm still not happy with all the loss of flexibility, I was much better at 2 years than I was at 6 months. Hang in there.

    --Linda
    I didn't realize that you were a patient, Linda, as well as the moderator.

    Please, tell me about the loss of flexibility. Should I throw away all my shoes that lace up (I love shoes)? Will I be able to kneel down and scrub my kitchen floor? I know it depends on how much fusion you have. For me it will be everything except the neck after my upcoming second surgery.

    I can't tell how inflexible I am right now because pain is what limits me from trying out my flexibility. That, and a brace, and my doctor's orders.

    Of course I don't expect you to predict my outcome but it helps to hear something of other people's.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tina_R View Post
    I didn't realize that you were a patient, Linda, as well as the moderator.

    Please, tell me about the loss of flexibility. Should I throw away all my shoes that lace up (I love shoes)? Will I be able to kneel down and scrub my kitchen floor? I know it depends on how much fusion you have. For me it will be everything except the neck after my upcoming second surgery.

    I can't tell how inflexible I am right now because pain is what limits me from trying out my flexibility. That, and a brace, and my doctor's orders.

    Of course I don't expect you to predict my outcome but it helps to hear something of other people's.
    Yup, a patient. I had two rounds of A/P fusion. I also worked in the UCSF Spine Center for about 9 years.

    It varies, and depends on a lot of different things (# of levels, which levels, age, flexibility prior to surgery, etc.). You can read posts in this forum, from people who have high thoracic to the sacrum fusion, and who still have tremendous flexibility. I was expecting a loss of flexibility, but was disappointed that it was as bad as it is. I can't easily get down on the floor, and it's way worse getting up. I can do it, but it looks really awkward, and is very painful because I've broken chips off of both kneecaps. Because of the loss of flexibility, I essentially never sit on the floor (at least intentionally). I miss being able to scrub floors. (I know, that sounds a little sick, but that's me.) I only wear slip on shoes. I can actually stretch to tie the shoelaces, but it's not very comfortable. Worse than the shoelaces are the tongues in fitness shoes. I can't hold the tongue up and pull the shoe on at the same time.

    With all that said, even knowing that it would all occur, I would probably still make the decision to have the surgery. I was able to put up with the back pain, as it was only bad when I stood for ~10 minutes or more. But, I had such bad leg pain that I could only stand for maybe 30 seconds. That really affected my functionality. I no longer have any lower back pain, so I guess it was a pretty good tradeoff. I like to talk about the flexibility issue, because I think it's important for people such as yourself, to know what to expect.

    --Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    Yup, a patient. I had two rounds of A/P fusion. I also worked in the UCSF Spine Center for about 9 years.

    It varies, and depends on a lot of different things (# of levels, which levels, age, flexibility prior to surgery, etc.). You can read posts in this forum, from people who have high thoracic to the sacrum fusion, and who still have tremendous flexibility. I was expecting a loss of flexibility, but was disappointed that it was as bad as it is. I can't easily get down on the floor, and it's way worse getting up. I can do it, but it looks really awkward, and is very painful because I've broken chips off of both kneecaps. Because of the loss of flexibility, I essentially never sit on the floor (at least intentionally). I miss being able to scrub floors. (I know, that sounds a little sick, but that's me.) I only wear slip on shoes. I can actually stretch to tie the shoelaces, but it's not very comfortable. Worse than the shoelaces are the tongues in fitness shoes. I can't hold the tongue up and pull the shoe on at the same time.

    With all that said, even knowing that it would all occur, I would probably still make the decision to have the surgery. I was able to put up with the back pain, as it was only bad when I stood for ~10 minutes or more. But, I had such bad leg pain that I could only stand for maybe 30 seconds. That really affected my functionality. I no longer have any lower back pain, so I guess it was a pretty good tradeoff. I like to talk about the flexibility issue, because I think it's important for people such as yourself, to know what to expect.

    --Linda
    Thanks for answering. It occurred to me later that I may have made an improper inquiry, that I should let people volunteer information but not ask them point blank about themselves, that it might be too personal.

    Your answer helps and lets me know what to possibly expect. I already started getting rid of my high heels, now I know tie shoes will probably be next. Since you answered about shoes and floor scrubbing (it's not sick to want to take care of your house; I look around and wish I could tidy up better than I have lately), what about socks? Does one have to use a sock helper forever after full fusion?

    I wish someone had warned me about this and about other drawbacks surgery can bring, but we often really have no choice.
    Last edited by Tina_R; 10-27-2019 at 12:55 PM.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tina_R View Post
    what about socks? Does one have to use a sock helper forever after full fusion?
    Although difficult, I can get a sock on my left foot. I don't stand a chance of getting one on my right foot without a sock puller. Unfortunately, I have to wear compression socks, so I use a compression sock frame to get them on.
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    Although difficult, I can get a sock on my left foot. I don't stand a chance of getting one on my right foot without a sock puller. Unfortunately, I have to wear compression socks, so I use a compression sock frame to get them on.
    Is there any danger to attempting to pull a sock on when you are barely able to reach? Can it mess up what the surgery has put together? Can you rip out anything by doing that?

  9. #39
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    I have another general suggestion of how to be ready for life just after surgery.

    I like to read and I had plenty of time for it recovering from surgery. It filled in the idle time. I like to read lying on my back or side in bed, holding the book up. The only thing is, I found out many books are too heavy. My surgeon gave me a 5 pound weight limit for lifting. When you have to hold a book up even a pound or less can be too heavy for your tender back. I learned to limit myself to 250 page books (or less) - amazon.com gives number of pages and weight of each book it sells. Novels this short are hard to find. Or of course you could also read from your phone.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tina_R View Post
    Is there any danger to attempting to pull a sock on when you are barely able to reach? Can it mess up what the surgery has put together? Can you rip out anything by doing that?
    You won't be able to put socks on without a device immediately after surgery. Depending on your surgeon, it can be as little as 3 months, or as much as 6 months. While I think a little bit of bending, lifting, and twisting is probably OK for most of us, I think you need to be cautious about extreme positions for the first 6-12 months. While it's not common, something like stretching to put a sock on could cause a screw pull-out during that initial period.
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tina_R View Post
    I have another general suggestion of how to be ready for life just after surgery.

    I like to read and I had plenty of time for it recovering from surgery. It filled in the idle time. I like to read lying on my back or side in bed, holding the book up. The only thing is, I found out many books are too heavy. My surgeon gave me a 5 pound weight limit for lifting. When you have to hold a book up even a pound or less can be too heavy for your tender back. I learned to limit myself to 250 page books (or less) - amazon.com gives number of pages and weight of each book it sells. Novels this short are hard to find. Or of course you could also read from your phone.
    You may find that reading while lying on your back is more difficult, especially in the early post-op period. For some reason, I did not have the strength to even read a small magazine in that position, though it wasn't something I did prior to surgery, so your experience might vary. I also didn't have the mental ability to concentrate enough to read while in the hospital and in the early post-op period. I did, however, like audio books. I belong to Audible, and "read" most books that way now. Most public libraries also have free audio book lending software, though I've encountered long waiting times for the stuff I want to read.
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    You won't be able to put socks on without a device immediately after surgery. Depending on your surgeon, it can be as little as 3 months, or as much as 6 months. While I think a little bit of bending, lifting, and twisting is probably OK for most of us, I think you need to be cautious about extreme positions for the first 6-12 months. While it's not common, something like stretching to put a sock on could cause a screw pull-out during that initial period.
    How do you wash your hair since you can’t bend over? I have problems now doing this at the sink Nancy

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    You may find that reading while lying on your back is more difficult, especially in the early post-op period. For some reason, I did not have the strength to even read a small magazine in that position, though it wasn't something I did prior to surgery, so your experience might vary. I also didn't have the mental ability to concentrate enough to read while in the hospital and in the early post-op period. I did, however, like audio books. I belong to Audible, and "read" most books that way now. Most public libraries also have free audio book lending software, though I've encountered long waiting times for the stuff I want to read.
    I couldn't concentrate in the hospital either. The oxycodone they gave me caused a bowel obstruction that took days to clear. Bowel pain for me is terrible. It was much worse than the surgical pain. Only lying on the painful area, on one side, alleviated it a bit, but then I worried that it was bad to stay in one position all the time.

    Seems bizarre that you have to wait to get a digital book. The whole point of software is that things should be shareable.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    You won't be able to put socks on without a device immediately after surgery. Depending on your surgeon, it can be as little as 3 months, or as much as 6 months. While I think a little bit of bending, lifting, and twisting is probably OK for most of us, I think you need to be cautious about extreme positions for the first 6-12 months. While it's not common, something like stretching to put a sock on could cause a screw pull-out during that initial period.
    Many of my socks didn't fit over the sock helper, it's too wide. I had to buy new stretchier socks. Those fluffy ankle-high socks work very well:

    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Sock helper with rope handles:
    (Maybe there are other types.)

    https://smile.amazon.com/RMS-Deluxe-...5&s=hpc&sr=1-4

  15. #45
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    Does anyone think Nancy should get a second opinion about having fusion? Is it possible something less invasive could be done about her pain? I realize that only fusion straightens the curve in an adult. Nancy's curve at 30 degrees isn't the worst although she has lost a lot of height.

    Dr. Gupta is probably an orthopedic surgeon. Would a neurosurgeon have a different opinion, a different approach?

    I'm not saying you shouldn't have fusion, Nancy, just that it might be good to get a second opinion. It might help you understand the big picture better. I say this now in retrospect of my own case.

    I think of orthopedic surgeons as understanding the structure of the skeleton and the neurosurgeons as maybe being able to deal more directly with nerves and pain. My surgeon is orthopedic and I just assumed that my pinched nerve problems would straighten themselves out once my structure was improved. It almost seemed like that wasn't the case at first and I got a second opinion from a neurologist to make sure my nerve problem was indeed corrected by the surgery.

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