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Thread: Bracing after surgery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Maryland
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    Bracing after surgery

    My 11 year old daughter had spinal fusion on 7/31/03, at Georgetown University Hospital. She was fused from T6-L1, although her 'S' curve went as low as L4. Her surgeon was reluctant to fuse her so low, and was hopeful the last 3 vertebrae would straighten out some, in response to the rest of the curve being straightened. The top of her curve went from 57 to 22 degrees; the lower went from 47 to 35. Her doctor was not satisfied with the lower curve and has her back in her brace, about 16 hours a day. In another 2 weeks we will return for another set of xrays and visit with the doctor to see how her lower curve is responding.

    I am curious if anyone out there has had any experience with being braced after surgery, as I understand this is not very common. It has been very disheartening for her to put that brace back on!

    Judy
    Maryland
    Last edited by Coolspring; 09-19-2003 at 06:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    Sep 2003
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    Kansas City, MO
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    Judy,
    Hello, I am sorry to hear about your situation. It must be very hard for you and your daughter. My scoliosis was diagnosed when I was 4yrs. I started wearing a back brace when I was 7 years old. Long story short... I had my first fusion when I was 14. Since then I have had 4 more surgeries, I lose track as to what was done when, but, I have hardware from T4-T12 and then L5-S1. I didn't have to wear a brace after my surgeries, my doctor said that the bottom curve of my "S" curve was a compensatory curve and it should straighten out some on its own. I am more than happy to talk, or "compare notes," I understand how hard it can be. Let me know if you just want to talk sometime.

    I have been trying to find some information about sacral torsion and how it can be treated. Lately I have had a lot of trouble with this and keeping up with my 10 month old son. I am just a little frustrated and discouraged.
    Emily
    Kansas City, MO

  3. #3
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    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    Hi Judy...

    I think that if the surgeon chooses to leave a compensatory curve unfused in a skeletally immature patient, it is common practice to put the child back into a brace to try to keep the compensatory curve from increasing.

    By the way, doctors here in Northern California put most of their adult patients, and some of their younger patients, into a post-op TLSO brace to keep them from moving improperly for 3-6 mos. (or sometimes even longer).

    Regards,
    Linda
    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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  4. #4
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    Sep 2003
    Location
    Maryland
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    Linda -

    The second paragraph of your reply is pretty much how the surgeon explained things to me - wearing the brace is to correct how her body is holding itself. The 3-6 months time frame is what he told us to expect as well.

    I am glad to know that this is something others have heard of as well. Thanks!

    Judy

  5. #5
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    Sep 2003
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    Northern California
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    Hi Judy...

    I think it comes under the heading of "better safe than sorry." I wore a TLSO brace for about 5 mos. post-op. It was a pain in the neck at first, but I soon realized that it 1) sort of protected me from the world and 2) allowed me to stay upright with less fatigue. I've heard many patients say that they were reluctant to stop using the brace after surgery. If your daughter had to wear a brace before surgery, she may be less thrilled with her post-op brace.

    Hope your daughter's lumbar curve straightens itself out and that she has a great outcome.

    Regards,
    Linda
    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
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you've signed up and are having trouble posting, please check your spam folder. An email was sent to the email address which you subscribed. You have to follow the instructions in that email. Done that and still having trouble posting? Contact Joe O'Brien at jpobrien@scoliosis.org.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Princeton, MN
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    Bracing after surgery

    My daughter was in the 5th grade when she had her surgery, and yes she did wear a brace for 5 months afterwards. She is now in the 9th grade and surgery has worked well for her. Her surgery was performed at Children's Mercy in Cincinnatti, OH.
    Richard Scott
    Princeton, MN

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    London
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    Emotional support

    I have just put up this thread and maybe it would help your daughter to know someone else is feeling the same...

    When i finally had my operation after waiting four years, i thought my troubles were over but even though I'm fully recovered, I'm not myself. I find my brace a hard obstacle to overcome, I'm still as outgoing and people don't treat me differently, but i don't have as mush self confidence and it's always on my mind. In relation to how long I've waited, 6 months is not much and in comparsion to the rest of my life, it's nothing but right now it seems like everything. Does anyone out there know how it feels to be constantly uncomfortable? It sucks and I would love someone to reassure me that having the op was hte right choice because right now i don't feel like i should, as girl of only 16, be having to deal with this. Thankyou and sorry I sound so down, bad day. Love Lu*

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    Hi Lu...

    Since the only time I had to wear a brace was for 5 months after my surgery, I can't really relate. But, I found myself wondering if your problem is because you thought the surgery would be the final "fix" for your scoliosis. Did you know that you were going to have to wear the brace after surgery?

    One way or the other, at 16, you shouldn't have very long to wear the brace. (I wasn't sure from your post... do you only have to wear it for 6 more months?) Anyway, I know it seems like a long time, but it really will be over before you know it.

    Sorry that you're have a difficult time.

    Regards,
    Linda
    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
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you've signed up and are having trouble posting, please check your spam folder. An email was sent to the email address which you subscribed. You have to follow the instructions in that email. Done that and still having trouble posting? Contact Joe O'Brien at jpobrien@scoliosis.org.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Princeton, MN
    Posts
    2

    RE: Bracing after surgery

    Hi, I know that the user name says "scottrichard1", but this is his daughter .

    My name is Lorna Scott. I'm 14, and a freshman in high school. I had scoliosis surgery when I was in 5th grade, and had to wear a brace for about 5 months afterwards. I had a curve of 54 degrees, which was a high curve for someone my age (10 at the time), but I couldn't do any contact sports for awhile. Today, I am able to do any normal things that a teenager likes to do. If you want to talk, feel free to post back, and I'll get it
    Richard Scott
    Princeton, MN

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Maryland
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    Thank you for the replies regarding the bracing after surgery - it DOES make me feel better to know that others have had this same experience. To Richard Scott, it is interesting especially that your daughter was the same age as mine and had the same experience. My daughter will be xrayed and sees the surgeon in two weeks, so I will be eager to see if the brace is having any effect.

    Lu, I am sorry you are struggling so with your brace. I know how hard it is, from watching my daughter cope with it. My daughter just sat and read these postings and she really did know how you feel. Life at 16 can be hard enough without having to deal with the scoliosis and brace! Your surgery and all you've been through was most certainly the right thing. But it may take a long time for you to think so. But I am sure, that a few years from now, when you look back on all this, you will be grateful. Everything seems better with time.

    You might not agree with this, Lu, but I also believe that your experience is making you a much stronger person on the inside too. Good luck!

    Judy

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    new jersey
    Posts
    6
    i can understand how frustrated you must be feeling - we have been told that after my daughter's surgery she wil not need a brace, but it sounds like it isn't totally out of the question until they actually get in there and see what they have. might be a good idea to warm her up to the possibility before surgery 'just in case'. our main reason for doing surgery is to 'get it over with' instead of bracing for the next 3-4 years. i guess a few months postop is still better than the alternative - and her curve is already too far gone not to operate regardless of the postop course.

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