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Thread: 13-yr old pending surgery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    montebello
    Posts
    5

    13-yr old pending surgery

    Hi. I'm grateful for this forum. My 13-yr old daughter was diagnosed in May 2003 with scoliosis at 42 degrees. Her last x-ray, taken about 3 weeks ago, shows curvature is up to 47 degrees. We have consulted two chiropracters, and four orthopaedic surgeons. They all say surgery is necessary. My questions: since she has not had her growth spurt (has not started menstruation), once her back is fused (which is what we understand will happen) in a one-time (as I understand it) operation, won't her back stop growing, and the rest of her body will continue to grow, making her look disfigured? Shouldn't we wait until after the growth spurt? Her surgery is scheduled for Dec. 29, 03.
    Another question: what about horseback riding? My daughter is a dancer and a musician, and since it is entirely possible that she will not be able to dance to any great degree, I'm trying to find other things for her and am especially emphasizing the music (violin). She is a very active, agile child - and I want to find activities she can do....don't want to spend a lot of $ and effort on horseback riding if she's not going to be able to continue. What are the sports/activities that are especially good? Swimming? (She's also a tennis player - has had two years of tennis lessons but hasn't been doing this lately......she's feeling discouraged after her diagnosis).
    Anyone have any advice? Thanks!!!!!
    Anne

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    17
    Hi Anne -

    About the waiting till your daughter finishes growing to have surgery - it depends on how much longer a wait that means. The longer you wait, the more her curve may progress. And surgery usually corrects a curve to half. So if she's 47 degrees now, her correction might be to 24 degrees (or better). But if you wait, and her curve worsens, then the correction may be to a higher degree as well. If she progressed to 60 degrees, then you might wind up with a 30 degree curve after surgery. Also, she will gain height because of the surgery. She will look better after surgery - my daughter did. Her back seemed out of proportion with the rest of her body before surgery. She gained 2 inches after surgery. Remember that the part of the spine that is not fused will also keep growing. Say she has 8 vertebrae fused - she'd still have 16 other vertebrae that will keep growing. In our own case, we chose not to wait because of the rapid progression of our daughter's curve (47 degrees in Jan; 58 by July). Her curve corrected to 22 degrees, by the way. I guess it's one of those "six of one; half a dozen of the other" scenarios.

    As for activities - Horseback riding wouldn't be good. After the surgery, she will have to stay away from activities that can jar the spine - like horseback riding, jumping, trampoline, etc. Swimming is great. (Our sport of choice!) Dancing would be good too.

    Good luck - it's a lot to think about, I know.

    Judy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    10

    Smile

    Im sorry to hear about your daughter. Im am 15 years old and I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 13. I know how hard it is to take it. I enjoyed cheerleading and track but I knew the more my back got worse the less I could handle participating. I went to the chiropractor for about 7 months until he sent me to a specialist who said I need surgery and that was the only way to correct my curves (57 and 30 *NOT SURE). I was VERY scared and we said I wouldnt have it. Though I went to talk to a doctor about it and she made me feel a little better. At that time I was just entering high school and my surgery was scheduled for the 4th week. I was very upset. I didnt want to spend my freshman year at home and miss out on the one thing I loved the most, cheerleading. I didnt even get to go to my first homecoming. I did have the surgery and I was out of school for 4 weeks. I still participated in cheerleading though it did cause some pain.
    For your daughter...horseback riding is something I would not suggest for her to do for a long time after the surgery. The doctor may say the same but remember to ask (write down all your questions to ask). You wouldnt want her to take the chance of falling and creating damage that could effect her whole life. Though, this surgery will not end her fun. I could participate in cheerleading but not stunting or tumbling. She will still be able to have fun with her friends. Just make sure she does not over do herself the first months after surgery. Her back will just be getting used to the rod so give it time.
    I do not regret having the surgery. I live my life with normally.
    I would love to keep in touch with you or your daughter because I know it helps ALOT to talk to someone who went through the same.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    10

    Smile

    Im sorry to hear about your daughter. Im am 15 years old and I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 13. I know how hard it is to take it. I enjoyed cheerleading and track but I knew the more my back got worse the less I could handle participating. I went to the chiropractor for about 7 months until he sent me to a specialist who said I need surgery and that was the only way to correct my curves (57 and 30 *NOT SURE). I was VERY scared and we said I wouldnt have it. Though I went to talk to a doctor about it and she made me feel a little better. At that time I was just entering high school and my surgery was scheduled for the 4th week. I was very upset. I didnt want to spend my freshman year at home and miss out on the one thing I loved the most, cheerleading. I didnt even get to go to my first homecoming. I did have the surgery and I was out of school for 4 weeks. I still participated in cheerleading though it did cause some pain.
    For your daughter...horseback riding is something I would not suggest for her to do for a long time after the surgery. The doctor may say the same but remember to ask (write down all your questions to ask). You wouldnt want her to take the chance of falling and creating damage that could effect her whole life. Though, this surgery will not end her fun. I could participate in cheerleading but not stunting or tumbling. She will still be able to have fun with her friends. Just make sure she does not over do herself the first months after surgery. Her back will just be getting used to the rod so give it time.
    I do not regret having the surgery. I live my life with normally.
    I would love to keep in touch with you or your daughter because I know it helps ALOT to talk to someone who went through the same.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Fraser Valley BC Canada
    Posts
    38

    Hi
    Thank you all for writing to this board -- I know my daughter would love to connect with other people who are in this situation. It's good to know there are others out there. Where we live, it takes 6 months to get a first consultation after referral.
    My daughter is also 13, major athlete, with a 45* thoracic, 40* lumbar curve and surgery has been recommended. She is in alot of pain and depressed from not being able to participate in activities the way she used to. We are at the point of looking forward to surgery as we have had enough. Are we being too optimistic, or will she always have pain?

    Carol
    Fraser Valley Canada

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    17
    Hi Carol,

    My daughter had some pain (60 thoracic/47 lumbar - before surgery; 22 thoracic/35 lumbar after) before she had surgery. She would usually have pain from sitting in school all day. Since her surgery (7/31/03) she has not had any more of that pain, even after a day in school. However, in the first few weeks there was plenty of pain, but that was to be expected, due to surgery. And also it takes time for the muscles to readjust. Plenty of pain there too, but temporary. You can see by her numbers that her lumbar curve is still a bit of an issue and she has a little pain there yet. Overall though, I think you are right to be optimistic about the surgery helping with her pain.

    Judy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Seymour, TN
    Posts
    57
    hello,
    my name is Ali and I'm 15 almost 16. I was diagnowed in the summer of 01 with a 43 degree curve and had surgery in the august my curve had grown by the time to 57. I was just beginning my growth spurt. I strongly suggest not waiting. I have grown four/five inches since my surgery and still growing. I am not deformed in any way. I also do not suggest horse back riding, a walk and light trot is ok, but nothing much faster then that. I sometimes trail ride and that is great. Swimming is very fun. Your daughter is a tennis player ? she'll be able to play tennis still. she will have to work a lot to get back where she was and maybe start all over. I play soccer, basketball, and football. I had to start almost from the beginning with all of them. Its hard but I really loved the sport and kept with them. There is little a person with scoliosis can not do that anyone else can. I would like to add a helpful hint. You might not understand this now, but your daughter will soon enough. A easy way to know when your over doing yourself or pushing yourself to far, is when your muscles in your back start to feel like you have needles in your back. I know it sounds weird, but it happened to me alot. I like to push myself and I was playing basketball and juggling a soccer ball maybe 3 or 4 months after my surgery. I'm not encouraging your daughter to do that, but allow her to puch herself to her OWN limit. doctors know averages. but we are all different people. Well, any questions email me at Alleycat017@hotmail.com
    cya

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