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Thread: 18 years old- curious about surgery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    18 years old- curious about surgery

    Well, I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was around 14 and I'm 18 now. When I was 16, after noticing that my curvature had increased (top and bottom are both between 35 and 40), my orthopedist suggested I have a spinal fusion soon, while I was still a teenager. Unfortunately, my doctor was retiring and could not do the surgery himself. So I was referred to another doctor. This new doctor strongly disagreed with the former, saying that a full spinal fusion would limit my mobility and that without surgery, my scoliosis would not affect me much. He also said that this surgery is not very good for people past puberty.
    Lately I've been experiencing a lot of back pain which may or may not be related to my scoliosis. Specifically, my lower back hurts whenever I lay flat on my back. I've also been having brief episodes of sharp pain in my mid back, to the left of my spine.
    I want to see another doctor for a third opinion and to have my curves remeasured before I leave for college. I just want to hear some of your stories if you've had a spinal fusion around my age, your prior symptoms, and how the surgery has affected you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Brandon, FL
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    6

    Wink sx at 20yrs old

    I am 3 1/2 years post op and had my surgery at 20 years old.

    I was dx at 13 and braced for a year in attempts of preventing the curve from getting worse. It didnt work. My first Dr wanted to avoid sx at all costs, but after years of failed conservitive treatment, I was sent to a second Ortho who ordered surgery on my first visit. The way he explained it to me was that since it had progressively gotten worst yearly, it would continue to get worse and I would be wheelchair bound by age 30. So, I felt no choice but to go thru with it. I was 45 deg over 49 deg when i had my sx.

    I won't lie, the first 3 months after the procedure were hell. Very, very difficult. But understanding the necessity helped with the recovery process.

    I still have pain and discomfort, but it doesnt compare to prior to the surgery. Its a massive life style change and there are a ton of things people take for granted when it comes to using there back that you don't realize untill you can't do those things any more. Most of the pain now is muscular. Pain management trigger point injections are my best friend. But if you read some of the other blogs, little things like painting your toes is a massive hurtle to overcome.

    I don't want to discourage you in making the decision to have the procedure because I wouldnt even want to imagine my life had I not had the sx, but don't expect it to be a one time quick fix. It really is a life changing event. You may want to consider doing it before starting school to avoid the interruption.

    I wish you the best and hope I could help!

    ~ Monica

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritzky411 View Post
    I am 3 1/2 years post op and had my surgery at 20 years old.

    (snip)

    I still have pain and discomfort, but it doesnt compare to prior to the surgery.
    Can I ask if your surgeon thinks is usual or okay for a 23 yo who had curves under 50* to still have pain/discomfort 3.5 years out? What are your curves now?

    I'm not an expert but it sounds like something unusual. That is, I would not expect the great run of folks operated on at 20 yo with those magnitude curves to still have pain/discomfort a few years later but what do I know?
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Brandon, FL
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    I wondered the same thing

    I have not seen my surgeon since my one year follow up, but I'm 15 deg over 15 deg now.

    I have been treating with a pain management Dr and he has stated the pain is all muscular. Trigger point injections seem to help best. Because these injects give me so much releif, he said it proves it's not nerve related. He also advised that if I start exercising more a re-strengthen the muscles that I no longer use due to the fusion that it should help the pain long term. Swimming is supposed to be the best, most theriputic, low impact (all that fun stuff).

    I am workin on the working out aspect of it, so i will keep you updated if it helps.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Tasmania
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    259
    I have to admit I find it a little strange as well. I had my op as you can see in the dark ages almost and have never ever had a problem, life went on as normal. Honestly, i had the op in those days it was a 12 month recovery and
    fix, and that was it, smooth sailing.( till 1997 but that was good)
    I know we are all different, as far as our bodies react, but I think I would be going back to the surgeon or specialist to have another opinion as to what is going on. That is only a suggestion Fritzky.

    Khes, I think your idea of seeing another doctor for a third opinion is an excellent one, but do some homework and pick a goodie.

    Macky xx
    Operation 1966, Fused from T4 to L3, had Harrington rods inserted. Originally had an 85 degree Thoracic curve with lumbar scoliosis as well but had a good correction.
    Perfectly normal life till 1997 but now in a lot of pain daily. Consider myself very fortunate though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Brandon, FL
    Posts
    6

    Thanks!

    I will call my doc next week to see if he can see me again. I have not had any post op CT scans, so i'm sure that will be the first step, but it's better to have someone look at it and there be nothing wrong as opposed to the alternative.
    Thanks Macky!

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