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Thread: Thorocoplasty needed?

  1. #1
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    Jun 2006
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    Thorocoplasty needed?

    Hello everyone. I recently realized that I have a rib hump. I did some research and found that a Thorocoplasty can be performed to correct it. I had a spinal fusion in 2002 and had my rods removed in 2004 due to Osteomylitis (infection in my spine).
    I don't have insurance at the moment, so I cannot go to the doctor. I was wondering if there's any way I can measure it, to see if I will need the Thorocoplasty. Will it get worse? I didn't notice the uneveness until after my second surgery. Also, if I do need the surgery, will my original surgeon need to do it? I had my surgeries done in NY and I now live in Colorado. I had to fly to NY for my second surgery. I am worried and do not want a 3rd surgery. Are there alternatives to the Thorocoplasty? Backbraces or physical therapy that have helped anyone? My right shoulder is lower than my left, and when I sit, I face towards the left. My right side of my back sticks up when I bend over. I'm having a hard time with this and am scared. I also have Osteoarthritis and am not sure sometimes if it's the arthritis or rib hump that's causing my pain.
    Any advice is helpful and I thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Colorado
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    Hello Waterpixie1327,

    Nice to meet you. I also live in Colorado, a wonderful state! I understand your concerns regarding the rib thoracoplasty. I am 32 and I had two fusions and two rod removals. The thoracoplasty was done on my second fusion and they did 7 ribs. I had it done because after my first fusion failed and my curve got worse well so did my rib hump. I then needed a 2nd fusion and my dr told me that he could as well do the rib thoracoplasty the same time. I asked if I needed it done, he told me it was really primarily for cosmetic reasons. Now that was in my case. Not sure about anyone elses.

    Have you seen a dr since 2004? Is your curve getting worse? If your spine continues to move then possibly the rib hump might as well keep growing but can't say for sure.

    I do understand about the uncomfortableness while sitting, and pain. I was also suffering from pain and that was because my whole rib cage was moving because of my spine! I would suggest to see if you qualify for insurance through the state and see a dr. to make sure everything is okay. Once I started to have pain I then started to have breathing problems.

    In 1999 when I had the thoracoplasty it was more painful then I thought it would be. I had already one spinal fusion and I thought it wouldn't be so bad but it was a different pain! Everytime you breath you feel it but you have to (I mean have to) do your breathing exercises!!! It helps tremendously! Heals quicker!! I don't want to scare you but 7 partial ribs removed HURTS because it has to do with your breathing and it feels like a semi-truck hit you from the side! Once I got past the tuff couple of weeks I was quite thankful because I liked the way it looked afterwards!

    If you have any details you want just ask. Sorry to be so straight forward but that is how it was for me.
    Adrienne
    1991 T4 - T12 Fusion
    1993 Rod Removal
    1999 T4-L4 Fusion (7 rib thoracoplasty)
    2002 Rod Removal 58;49 degrees
    Denver, CO; Dr. John Odom
    Rocky Mtn. Spine Center

  3. #3
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    Jun 2006
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    I live in Colorado:)
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    Thanks a lot augemac! Nice to meet you too, and yes...Colorado ROCKS Anyways.. I understand a little more about it now. For some reason, when I read your response, I wasn't afraid of the Thorocoplasty BECAUSE of your straightforwardness! So, don't apologize If it needs to be done, I need to be brave. I haven't seen a doctor for my back in a long time, so I don't know if my curve is getting worse. It sure feels like it! Now, I'm wondering if I may need a second fusion. I'm working on this new job, with insurance, so hopefully I'll get some good healthcare and if not, I'll go through the state.

    Anyways, during my hospital stay, after my second surgery, I had anemia and got really sick with a fever-I thought I was going to die Before I left, they inserted a PICC line into my arm that went to my heart! It distributed an antibiotic- Vancomyacin for the Osteomylitis (infection) in my spine. I had the PICC line in for 6 weeks at home. At the end of it, I started to get red and itchy everytime I hooked up my antibiotic. I was having an allergic reaction, called Red Man's Syndrome, on top of the dizziness from the anemia! I've had a lot of complications during and after my surgeries! I guess that's why I didn't want to chance anymore complications. I was just tired of the feeling...of surgery. The whole process. My body needs to stop changing...lol I shouldn't be complaining, you've had 4 surgeries! Why did you need a second fusion?

    Anyways, thanks so much for your time and advice. I really appreciate it and it's helped me to realize that if I have to do it, I have to do it!!! Thanks again.
    Last edited by waterpixie1327; 10-09-2008 at 12:13 PM.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2008
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    Hi I would just like to say that my 16 year old daughter was just diagnosed with Scoliosis by our chriopractor he was the first to noitce she had x rays done last week and we will be going to see are family Doctor today. This is all so new to me I have been reading so much in the last week and I feel like it is alot to take in I love this site I happend upon it by accident trying to find anything out. We live in Alberta close to Edmonton and I just have tons of questions if anyone could answer anything I would be very greatful. She has been complaing of severe pain for a while now and I did not belive her until I seen the xrays for myself. Is there alot of pain associated with this? Could this be the cause of her bowel problems irritable bowel? Head aches severe? Leg pain complains of feet falling asleep? I just need to talk to someone that has gone through this. I could keep writting but that is probably enough for now. Mother just looking for some answers and dealing with terrible guilt for not nowing alot sooner what was going on with my daughter and not believing in her pain and sore back.



    You can reach me here or at my Email address is Jackieh@thedashgroup.com

  5. #5
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    Houston, TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterpixie1327 View Post
    ... It distributed an antibiotic- Vancomyacin for the Osteomylitis (infection) in my spine. I had the PICC line in for 6 weeks at home. At the end of it, I started to get red and itchy everytime I hooked up my antibiotic. I was having an allergic reaction, called Red Man's Syndrome ...
    Waterpixie, I take Vancomycin by IV during ANY surgery I have (I developed MRSA in 2001, and there's always the risk I'm still a carrier and can reinfect myself).

    Red Man Syndrome isn't an allergic reaction, it's a hypersensitivity reaction. It's associated with a too rapid initial infusion of the drug. Slow introduction almost never produces Red Man.

    Just an FYI.

    Regards,
    Pam
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  6. #6
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    Thanks Pam! I know Red Man Syndrome is a hypersensitivity reaction, it's just easier to explain...but I suppose I should post what it actually is. I'll remember this next time! Thanks again
    Last edited by waterpixie1327; 10-10-2008 at 08:46 PM.

  7. #7
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    Houston, TX
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    LOL ... sorry ... wasn't sure if you knew ;-).

    Best regards,
    Pam
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  8. #8
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    May 2006
    Location
    Indianapolis
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    Thorocoplasty

    I had thorocoplasty about twelve years ago. I was fortunate that my insurance covered it since the surgeon said it was mostly cosmetic. I, too, turn to the left when I sit and hardback chairs are unbearable. Like the previous poster said, the surgery is pretty painful. I was in the hospital for about five days because of the chest tube. My surgeon used a minimally invasive technique that involved deflating the lung. He removed sections of four ribs. I'm not sure it made all that much difference though. I still have a pretty noticeable rib hump and sitting is still uncomfortable. Maybe it's gotten worse again-I don't know. I have an appointment with an orthopedist next month just for follow up on my scoliosis. No physician has really addressed it since my surgery as a teenager (many years ago.). I would only do it again if I was assured I good get a much more noticeable result.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Utah
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    My understanding is this - it's rare for surgeons to do a thorocoplasty UNLESS they are also "in there" doing fusions. Some orthopedic surgeons won't do them at all. Others do them routinely. The rib cavity is slightly smaller after a patient has a thorocoplasty and that is the reason some surgeons avoid it.

    I also understand that there generally isn't a medical benefit to a thorocoplasty. It's more about appearance when you are bent over AND feeling more comfortable in chairs. I'm no doctor and there are other people on the forum who know a lot more than myself. I'm just sharing what I've "picked up".
    65* curve at age 55
    T4 - L3 Fusions on May 20, 2008 by Dr. Boachie, NYC
    Curve corrected to 26*
    Blog specifically about my recovery =
    http://gingerinrecovery.blogspot.com

  10. #10
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    Thanks to both of you. I think most of my pain comes from my arthritis, so I am not going to worry about it anymore. I will get insurance and see a doctor about it, but I'm not gonna lose any sleep over it until then. I'd rather just deal with the uneveness and hope it doesn't get worse. Thanks again!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    43

    Thorocoplasty

    Hi,

    I had a thorocoplasty as a seperate operation after my original fusion. It did reduce the rib hump after it was done and although it was painful it wont put me off having it. But now I am in the situation where my spine has moved a number of degress and the ribs are starting to protrude again. I have seen a surgeon and he said that he would operate and he could straigthen my spine but it is a risky operation and because of the thorocoplasty it makes it even risker and it would reduce my lung capacity by a futher 20%.
    So my advice to u is to go to your surgeon and see if your spine is holding steady if not I wouldnt get the thorocoplasty done as u may need revision and as my surgeon said it complicates things.I am sure you surgeon will be able to advise u of the best option.

    Amanda

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by amanda daly View Post
    But now I am in the situation where my spine has moved a number of degress and the ribs are starting to protrude again. I have seen a surgeon and he said that he would operate and he could straigthen my spine but it is a risky operation and because of the thorocoplasty it makes it even risker and it would reduce my lung capacity by a futher 20%.
    Amanda,

    Oh my Gosh!! I had a thoracoplasty also back in 1999 but I never had that talk to my surgeon! I am current also having problems. Been looking at dr's and now I am also curious. I didn't know that.
    Adrienne
    1991 T4 - T12 Fusion
    1993 Rod Removal
    1999 T4-L4 Fusion (7 rib thoracoplasty)
    2002 Rod Removal 58;49 degrees
    Denver, CO; Dr. John Odom
    Rocky Mtn. Spine Center

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    43
    I know I was shocked myself to say the least. They never tell u these things when u go to have the surgery. It is only when u start to have problems that all the bad stuff comes out. I am thinking of going to another surgeon next year and see what he says and I am also going to start pilates to see if that will help the situation.

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