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Thread: flexibility

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    65

    flexibility

    As I make my decision to have or not have surgery, I still have a few questions that remain unanswered. Hope some of you can help.

    1. I was told I need to be fused from T7-L4. What will my flexibility be like after surgery? I imagine myself moving like a robot and not being able to tie my shoes or pick things up off the floor.

    2. I have a hump on the upper right side of my back. Will that diminish after the surgery?

    3. How much height is typically gained after fusion? (I realize that everyone is different). My curve is 60*.

    thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Posts
    311
    Your length of fusion sounds very similar (if not exact) to what I will have next June. My surgeon said that he was worried about the flexibility that I will lose, but I should still be able to bike, swim, hike, etc. Others would be better answering this, but I think the main change is that we will be bending more from the hips and knees, but it seems like it is a relatively small price to pay for the overall benefits. (I am not speaking from experience though). I also gather that the lower the fusion goes, the more flexibility is lost. This is why my surgeon did not want to go down to T5 if he could help it.
    The amount of height you will gain probably depends on the amount of correction the surgeon gets, but I've heard from other people that they can gain 1/2 inch to an inch (others correct me if I'm wrong). Good luck - it is a difficult decision.
    "You must be the change you want to see in the world."

    Previously 55 degree thoracolumbar curve
    Surgery June 5, 2007 - Dr. Clifford Tribus, University of Wisconsin Hospital
    19 degrees post-op!

    http://abhbarry.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Sacramento,Calif.
    Posts
    420
    Hi Dorigirl,

    I am fused T10 to L4. I am 5 1/2 months post-op. I have no problem picking up things from the floor or tying my shoes. I sure don't move like a robot either! I too was worried about the flexibility before my surgery. I won't be doing back bends anymore, that's for sure! I can't bend sideways as far as before but I can bend some. (For example:I use to be able to bend sideways and get my hand down to my knee, now I only get 1/2 way.) I just asked my P.T. on Fri what happenes when you are fused to T5 or S1 and he said bending is more difficult. Hips are a bending area. I really haven't noticed anything I can't do. I hope this eases your mind. And you too, Abhberry.

    Also, I had a hump on my right side of my back. It is from the rotation of the spine. My hump is gone! And the 1" in height I had lost, I got back. I am VERY pleased with my results. I am 43 and was at 49*. I now am at 8*. I hope this helps you to make your decision. I am very PRO surgery! Best wishes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,951
    Quote Originally Posted by dorigirl
    As I make my decision to have or not have surgery, I still have a few questions that remain unanswered. Hope some of you can help.

    1. I was told I need to be fused from T7-L4. What will my flexibility be like after surgery? I imagine myself moving like a robot and not being able to tie my shoes or pick things up off the floor.
    While you'll probably notice some loss of flexibility once you've recovered from surgery, I think you'll be surprised how little loss there is. I'm fused from T4-L3, and can tell you the differences before and after are very subtle.

    Quote Originally Posted by dorigirl
    2. I have a hump on the upper right side of my back. Will that diminish after the surgery?
    You'll usually get at least some improvement. This is one of those areas where it pays to choose a top surgeon. The difference in the improvement between a good surgeon and a great surgeon is pretty dramatic. If you have a really big rib hump that bothers you, you should talk to your surgeon about performing a thoracoplasty.

    Quote Originally Posted by dorigirl
    3. How much height is typically gained after fusion? (I realize that everyone is different). My curve is 60*.
    It depends on the technique used. If your surgery is posterior only, you may only get 1/2-1". If your surgery is anterior, or anterior and posterior, you could get 3" of more.

    --Linda

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    1) the flexibility factor is not that big of deal, actually not if it is to do normal everyday things. You can bend with your knees if bending with your hips hurt for a while, for me I could before but now it hurts in my thoracic spine and I prefer bending with my hips, it's good for everybody to do so anyways, wethere they're fused ro not. Where it comes to annoy some like me, is when you did things that required a LOT of twisting, bending, and such like driving a very low sportscar or professional dancing. I'm sure some fused patients can do some of it, but not nearly as much as before, as dancing requires a lot of backward bending. I'm fused from T5 to L2, your fusion is shorter but about the same as far as lumbar.

    2)My hump is less visible, and my hips and waist are even now. Every case is different, and I had posterior surgery only and no ribs removed.

    3) I grew about an inch afterwards, and my curve was about 60. I don't know exactly what the degree is now, but I still have one.
    35 y/old female from Montreal, Canada
    Diagnosed with scoliosis(double major) at age 12, wore Boston brace 4 years at least 23 hours a day-curve progressed
    Surgery age 26 for 60 degree curve in Oct. 1997 by Dr.Max Aebi-fused T5 to L2
    Surgery age 28 for a hook removal in Feb. 1999 by Dr.Max Aebi-pain free for 5 years
    Surgery age 34 in Dec.2005 for broken rod replacement, bigger screws and crosslinks added and pseudarthrosis(non union) by Dr. Jean Ouellet

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