View Full Version : Living with a long fusion? Surgery at late 60's? Long Distance Travel

KI Jane
07-13-2006, 05:24 PM
I am a new forum member and yesterday I posted a question in the wrong place in the middle of a thread for adolescents and predictably did not get much of a response. I am far from adolescent (68) Unfortunately I live near Charleston SC and have been consulting doctors for my back pain who focused on the stenosis I also have and had not recommended surgery.
Recently I saw a scoliosis specialist in Tennessee who does recommend surgery and who recommends a fusion from mid-thoracic to S-1. He acknowledges I will have a very stiff back and the surgery would be long.

.. What is it like to live with such a long fusion?

.. Have others had surgery in late sixties? Was it very difficult? Fraught with complications? Am I too late despite terrible pain?

..I am seeing Dr Lenke July 26. He is supposed to be very good, but I worry about surgery so far from home and the problem of getting there and back. I want to go someplace where the surgery is performed all the time and did not know of nearer more convenient places. Any comments?

Karen Ocker
07-13-2006, 07:35 PM
Yes, it is successfully done. I was only 60 when I had my revision but I am totally pain free now at 64. What if your life expectancy is 20 more years-not impossible these days.

My suggestion: Ask Dr. Lenke for the names of some patients he operated on with a similar history to yours. For example the same age. This really helped me.

07-13-2006, 08:46 PM
Hi, KI Jane, welcome to the forum!! This is a great place to find information, isn't it? I'm from Tennessee and in October i had the surgeries that fused me the same as your doc recommended you be. I'm 53. It was rough, i won't lie to you, but i'm so glad i had it done. This is one situation where waiting and hoping it will get better won't work. It will only get worse as we age. Now i don't have that constant pain that i had before. After the surgery recovery pains lessened i feel great... I still have to be careful about vacuuming, mopping, etc....and lifting and carrying my granddaughter

I don't know your situation and all your history, so i am just saying that for me it was a good choice. However, if i knew that i had to go thru it again i would definitely cringe. Seek a second or even third opinion. Find a doctor you trust, and as Karen said, talk to someone in your similar situation.

We are here to listen to you and advise if possible, send positive thoughts and prayers when needed. Once in a while we even (((hug))) someone who needs it. There are some really smart and caring people here who will help you research any scoliosis-related topic you want.

God bless you and again, welcome!!!

07-13-2006, 11:08 PM
Hi Jane,

I would like to welcome you also!!! Living with progressing curves or having the surgery? I guess for me it was the lesser of two evils. But if you decide to have surgery, finding the right Dr. is well worth the distance you may have to travel for it.


07-14-2006, 05:33 AM
Hi KJane,
I'm 46 & will have a looong fusion--T2-sacrum..although I'm hoping when they get in there it will be less levels up! I get the feeling from my surgeon that my back is pretty stiff(calcified) Are you in good physical shape for your age?? that's important & to eat well..............good luck w/ your decision & we are all here for your questions & thoughts....Ly
60/60c, aug 1st surg..

07-14-2006, 07:22 AM
My surgeon happened to mention to me that he does do spinal surgery on people right into their 70's, so it isn't uncommon.

Linda Racine, our moderator, mentioned on another thread that she has a friend who had scoliosis surgery in her 70's. Perhaps she can give you the contact information.


age 47
awaiting surgery 7/24/06
for curves T65/L75

07-14-2006, 08:04 AM
Welcome, KI Jane! I too live in CHS and am dealing with the same distances issues as you. I even have an appt. scheduled with Lenke. I've sent you a private message with more info. It's great to be able to commiserate with someone dealing with this surgery from the same angle! Good luck with your hunt!

Linda G
07-14-2006, 02:00 PM
Welcome KI Jane,

I am fairly new here also. I am 63 years old and will be having surgery in Nov or Dec. Fusion from T10 to S1--58 degree curve. I am nervous to say the least but have learned a lot from this forum and my doctor gave me some names of patients to contact. I live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area and have access to a wonderful doctor Alexis Shelokov. I have a lot of faith in him and his staff. I know it will not be a cake walk but to not hurt anymore or to have to take pain meds all my life will be a blessing. Be sure to get more than one opinion and remember that with a surgery like this you want the best available even if you have to travel a distance to have it done. God bless. Linda G.