View Full Version : New with a lot of questions

06-08-2006, 10:29 PM
Hi, my name is Loren and I'm 18 years old. I just found out that I have scoliosis. I have a right thoracic curve that measures 46 degrees. My Dr. recommened that I have surgery, but I'm really freaked out by it. I hate blood and even faint when I get shots, so you can imagine how I feel about major surgery. I really don't know much about the surgery because I told my Dr. that their was no way in hell that I was having it. Anyway, the more I think about it, the more I'm warming up to the idea. But before I tell him this, I want to hear from people who have actually experienced it. A few questions that I have include:

1. What did you do to prepare for the surgery? For example: tests/blood transfusions/ classes.

2. On a scale from 1-10 how much pain did you experience post-op?

3. How long did it take for a complete recovery, and for doing simple tasks?

4. Was the surgery worth it?

5. What were the cosmetic results? For example: scars/ having a waist.

I realize that each curve and surgery are different, and everyone experiences different results and has different goals. My scoliosis hasn't really been a problem yet, but my Dr. and parents seem to be very concerned about future complications that may arise. I feel like the surgery is a good idea and will be beneficial, but I'm terrified of it. Thanks.

06-09-2006, 10:42 AM
Since you're so young maybe you should do what I did. Find a great surgeon and get observed and have x-rays every year. A sort of Wait And Watch Approach. My surgeon would measure the curve every year. Unfortunately my curve increased each year, which means it would continue to progress over my lifetime. This made my decision to have surgery easier.
1. I did yoga, a lot of exercise, reading/research and took a pre-op class at the hospital to prepare for my surgery.
2. My pain is between 4-5 depending on the day
3. I was told complete recovery would take about one year
4. I won't know if my surgery was worth it for a few more months
Good luck

06-09-2006, 02:14 PM
Hi Loren,

I agree with Summer. You're still very young and if you're not in a lot of pain you can still get great results from surgery later on. I was supposed to get surgery at 18 for a 60 degree curve, and backed out at the last minute and left the hospital- BEST decision I ever made in my life, I wasn't in much pain. I waited until I was in pain at 26(the curve didn't progress at ALL), but for me, there are days I regret having it so soon, as you can see I have had additional pain and surgeries. Some people have great outcomes and some have to have additional treatments later down the years, for issues like DDD(disk degeneration disease above and/or below the fusion), problems with hardware and fusion, developping other pains due to the fusion and don't forget you will lose some flexibilty and at 18, it's SO important-it was for me.

There are many things you can do now, like yoga, walking, pilates, swimming that would reinforce your muscles. If you have pain, a chiro could help too. And as much as I do agree that when you know that your curve will progress and will need surgery eventually it's better to have sooner rather than later-you have PLENTY of time and there are always new techniques that are invented with this surgery.

To answer some of your questions:

1)Had the usual pre op with also two blood donations at the Red Cross.
2)Righ away post op-10, then decreasing with major ups and downs in the first year-raging between 4 and 8.
3)Complete recovery between one and two years-it gets better after the first six months though, and I did have a second surgery at over a year post op
4)For some years the surgery was worth it, even if I did have more pain in my neck and lower back, my curve pain was much better. Now I have days that I feel it was worth it, some no.
5)Still have a hump(still have some curve but it looks better and I have the waist and front of my ribs/torso looking much more straight). Scar was becoming less and less visible with years, light pink(now it has changed but I had more surgery this last December)

Hope this helps.

06-09-2006, 06:13 PM
Oh Yeah and I forgot one other thing. I went to an Osteopathic Dr. He used a combination of chiropractics, massage, and accupressure that helped with a pain a lot! Not sure how common they are but his practice was Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine and I highly recommend this. I didn't like taking any type of medicine( even tylenol) His techniques lessened my back pain and almost diminished my headaches. I can't wait to be able to go back to him for overall well being.

06-13-2006, 12:47 AM
Hi there, I'm new here but I'd like to offer some advice nonetheless.

I agree that you should wait to have the surgery if you're not completely prepared for it. Be sure to stay in contact with an orthopedic surgeon to get checked at least once a year to check for curve progression, and then make a decision from there.

As for the specific questions you asked, here are my replies:

1. What did you do to prepare for the surgery? For example: tests/blood transfusions/ classes.
I donated blood for myself three times. I also took iron supplements, but that was to ensure that my iron stayed high enough to continue to donate blood. I had several X-rays taken, especially at my pre-op appointment.

2. On a scale from 1-10 how much pain did you experience post-op?
It was a 10 the first few days after surgery. While I was in the hospital, it dropped to around a 7 or 8. At home it was usually around a 6 or 7 for the first few weeks until I got a bit stronger.

3. How long did it take for a complete recovery, and for doing simple tasks?
I could walk while in the hospital, but I couldn't get out of bed without help for about a month and a half. I was able to dress myself, but my parents got me a shower chair because I was unable to stand up long enough to take a normal shower.

4. Was the surgery worth it?
I think my surgery was worth every painful moment. I was told that without surgery, I would have been wheelchair-bound by age 18. I now have near 100% correction, minimal back pain, and a wonderful life.

5. What were the cosmetic results? For example: scars/ having a waist.
I have two large scars from surgery. One runs the entire length of my back from the base of my neck down, and the other runs across my side starting below my belly-button and ending around the upper-middle of my back. They have faded considerably since I had the surgery, but they are still quite visible. I'm rather proud of them, actually.

I hope this helps. Good luck in any course of action you choose!