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Thread: What Should I expect from fusion surgery?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    18

    What Should I expect from fusion surgery?

    I'm 15 and have a 50 degree lumbar curve with a pelvic tilt.
    I am very active.
    Because of my condition my doc told me I should stop playing soccer an lacrosse, but now i am a goalie in lacrosse and I have taken up swimming, which my doc reccomended.
    I will be having fusion surgery to fuse I believe vertebrae L1-L4.
    I am curious to ask you all about what will happen to me from the surgery.
    My doc told me to anticipate a loss of mobility.
    Will i be able to still snowboard, play the sports i am playing(swimming and lacrosse goalie), run, and do everything else i like to do? Will it handicap me a all? How much mobility should i expect to lose?
    And will I be in alot of pain after the surgery? And will it be lasting, and worse than the current pains I have in my back?
    Also I have a couple of complications from my condition, vertebra degeneration and sponge compression, will these things add to the severity of the surgery?
    How long will it be before i will be recovered enough to go to school, and when i should be fully recovered?
    I am not scared of the procedure, just the lasting implications of it, like how it will affect my life.
    Last edited by eljamo17; 06-24-2008 at 12:19 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Oregon
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    18
    Umm I am still new at this, but my doctor told me that after about a year I can go back to playing sports. It shouldnt handicap you for that long. But really if you have any major questions you should talk to your doctor.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Near Houston, TX
    Posts
    495
    I will try to answer some of your questions. Also, you asked about good scoli drs. We went to 4 consults before we settled on Dr. Lenke in St. Louis. We felt his expertise and research in the field was well worth the 2 hour flight out of state. He performs approx. 250 surgeries per year and operates on both pedi and adult pts. He also does complex revisions and travels around the country teaching pedicle screw placement. Since you're 15, I guess you would be in the Children's Hosp. We had excellent care in St. Louis Childrens.

    My daughter is fused from T4-L4 but as far as bending, most of that is in your lumbar area so you would be limited much the same as her. She is 7 months post op and is able to bend forward from the hips about 45 deg. now. If she has to reach all the way to the ground, she has to bend at the knees but this should keep improving with time. She's also starting to bend to the side slightly more.

    At 4 months, Dr. Lenke released her to swim (though she doesn't like to) and recommended it to improve mobility. She's been released at 6 mths to do most things but nothing that's too jarring and I'm sure no contact sports but we didn't need to ask that question. We just went to Disney a few days ago and she rode Space Mountain and did fine. She's also done some water rides. Dr. Lenke used BMP (speeds up fusion) which is unusual to be used in adolescents, that's probably why she's been released at 6 mths to do most activities. If you're anxious to get back to your activities sooner, you might consider this as a benefit. I should tell you that it's not specifically FDA approved for scoliosis surgery but doesn't appear to have any deterious side effects.

    Sheena had a lot of lower back pain prior to surgery but is fine now. Of course there will be some pain after surgery but the amount and how long it will last varies from person to person. They'll give you very strong pain meds to control the pain. My daughter had a lot of pain for several weeks but much of that came from her hip, not her back. She's hasn't had any major problems except occassional muscle pain from overdoing. Most kids return to school anywhere from 3-6 weeks (that's what I've observed).

    A lot of your questions can be answered at your appt. Make sure you bring a list so you don't forget anything. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions. We are pleased with Sheena's outcome.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    18

    thanks!

    thank you very much ma'am.
    So returning to school in 3-4 weeks does not seem that bad, and it seems your duaghter didnt lose all of the mobility in her back, and she should be getting most of it back. Okay, thanks!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Near Houston, TX
    Posts
    495
    You're welcome!
    I didn't mean to mislead you, she doesn't have the same kind of mobility that she did before. She will only be able to bend forward from her hips from now on and that's where the improvement is coming. She wasn't able to bend forward at all immediately after surgery, it takes a while. You may be a little better off since yours is only in the lumbar, your doctor will be able to tell you exactly what to expect. She's dealing with it just fine but she's not a very active person, she's into art and writing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    6

    Talking 11

    I don't know about L-1 through L-4 because I had surge on L-4, L-5, and S-1,
    but what you can expect is lots of urges to scratch your back.(I almost made myself bleed once.) But on activites I'd ask your doc.

    BraceYourself

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    18

    wow

    Ok. I am quite active so yes, i will see what my doctors say.
    and hopefully it doesnt itch too much!
    thanks for oyur input.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    42
    I itch too! i just had my surgery about 7 weeks ago on wednsday. I can't bend, so I use my knees, they started cracking! Ihaven't had any extreme pain, and I haven't had any pain meds for at least a month. I can ride in the car and have been doing so since my first week after being home!

    I can swim at the end of august which is 3 months post op and can return to contact sports after 1 year. I was lucky to have my surgery so close to summer brake so I didn't return to school but I still had to do exams.

    Mobility depends on the person but I've heard of people who can do the splits and even touch their toes after.

    I was lucky and was only in the hospital for 5 days but it varies from person to person.

    I wish you luck and hope you get a date soon. It all happens sooo fast it'll be over before you know it.
    I'm 19 years old, had surgery 5 years ago
    3 curves Middle curve - 65 fused to 13 Bottom curve 35- fixed on it's own to 16!
    Fused from C7 to L1

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    18

    cool

    ok, that doesnt sound super bad, where did u have ur surgery done?
    contact sports!? wow, i did not think that would be possible.

    Will u be able to run again? LIke will it hurt u to run do u think? and how are u adapting to having less mobility in your back, what bones did u get fused?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    42
    I got my surgery done in Alberta, Canada. Contact sports are pretty much volleyball(My Fave!!!),Basketball, and Football if you were wondering.

    As far as running goes, i'll be able to next may which is a long time but it would be a year since my surgery and it might make me tired at first but I don't think it would hurt. The only reason I cant right now is because of the impact of each step.( I guess it'd be Kinda like jumping.)

    I'm not sure what was fused, all I know is from the bottom of my neck to about just above my hips is fused. I'm not aloud to twist or bend right now.don't expect to be up and running right away,I had the surgery about eight weeks ago and I can go shopping, to movies, and for walks, but that's all I do. By the sounds of it you'll be pretty tempted to run, and play sports but you can't right away. What I have to remember is that even though I feel well enough doesn't mean I can do whatever I want, and many people have a problem with remembering this.

    I often move really fast and twist or bend by accident because I forget, and there's no pain when I do it to remind me I can't. Old habits can get me in trouble I guess

    I wish you luck and if you have any questions feel free to ask. This surgery may seem bad but it's not! It doesn't take away being able to be active, only for a little while, and it's nothing compared to a lifetime of looking Fabulous!!
    Last edited by Jennybear; 07-15-2008 at 11:50 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Port St. Lucie, FL
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    32
    Whether or not you will be able to bend also depends upon if your surgery is just being performed posteriorly, or if it will be an anterior surgery as well. If just a posterior surgery, then yes, you should be able to do quite a bit of bending as Sherie described over a period of time. You will be limited on the amount of movement from side to side and of course not be able to do backbends. As far as bending forward, as Sherie mentioned, after so far, you will have to bend some at the knees. Quite frankly, it is best to use the knees anyways, especially for that first year. If you are having an anterior procedure, then you will not be able to bend forward, only half-way for good. I know this because I've had 4 surgeries thus far (T5-Sacrum), with the first two surgeries just being performed posteriorly. I was doing sit-ups, etc. Since I had the anterior procedure done, I am limited overall in that I can only bend half-way, nothing to the sides, nor backwards. Every case is different of course, so I would most definately speak with your doctor with your concerns. Have him/her go over the procedure with you in regards to what type of procedure will be done. Make sure you make a list with all your concerns prior to your next visit. Good luck to you and I'm sure everything will work out just fine.

    Shel

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    18

    ok

    haha, wow Jenny, it seems as if you have been recovering well!
    good for you!

    and ok, i don't know about my surgery only that i will be fused.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    42
    I'm sure u'll be able to bend and stuff, at least to an extent.
    I have heard of people who were able to do the splits and touch their toes after, so focus on getting better at first and then set a goal.

    Of my three curves my middle curve and upper curve were fused, but my lower curve was left alone and it corrected itself from 35-16 degrees. I dont know the technical terms for curves and things, sorry .

    Are you in to gymnastics and stuff, or just sports like soccer and basketball?

    I'm sure you'll do fine with flexibility

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    18

    ok

    I am into playing goalie in lacrosse and swimming, and snowboarding too, but i wouldnt say i do it as a sport.

    ok, i think i might be a little lucky that my curve is in my lumbar, let see...

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