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Debating standalone Thoracoplasty surgery after fusion.

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  • Debating standalone Thoracoplasty surgery after fusion.

    I am 17 years old and received by full spinal fusion in July 2014 to correct my 60 and 50 S curve. The curve has dramatically decreased but I am unhappy with my ribhump on my right side. My doctor, Robert Berstein in Beverly Hills, did not tell me about thoracoplasty and now I am considering a standalone surgery to remove the rib hump. It is noticeable with clothes on. I want to ask for people's experience on here who have had a Thoracoplasty SEPARATE from their fusion. From what I understand, you can receive this surgery once the back has been fused and stable.

    -How is your quality of life after? Pain and activities back to normal?
    -Is it sore or tender even after the ribs have filly healed?
    -Some people say they cannot lie on that side even after it has healed. Is this true?
    -How bad is the pain during recovery?
    -What are the risks that your doctor discussed with you?
    -Do you regret having this?

    I am debating whether it is worth it. I am discussing with my doctor during my 6 momth check up next next week. Please help!

  • #2
    Hi Babe...

    I know you posted this in the under 18 forum, but I suspect you won't find anyone who has had the procedure. If you do a search of the word thoracoplasty (search box above), I think you may find a few previous discussions. Thoracoplasties are pretty rare these days.

    I can tell you one thing from the dozen or so people I know who had the procedure done. They can be very painful for 6-8 weeks.

    You might want to ask your surgeon how many they've done. I've seen a few thoracoplasties done by a surgeon who didn't have much experience, and I would say the result was significantly less than desirable.

    I'll be curious whether you can get your insurance company to pay for the procedure since it's essentially cosmetic surgery.

    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation


    • #3

      You can ask your surgeon to put you in touch with other patients who have had similar thoracoplasties done by him. Then get in touch with them and ask them for their experiences. I did this prior to my fusion surgery, and it was very helpful to speak to two other women who had similar situations as mine.

      Good luck with your decision.
      Gayle, age 50
      Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
      Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
      Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1

      mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
      2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
      2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

      also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable


      • #4
        Originally posted by leahdragonfly View Post

        You can ask your surgeon to put you in touch with other patients who have had similar thoracoplasties done by him. Then get in touch with them and ask them for their experiences. I did this prior to my fusion surgery, and it was very helpful to speak to two other women who had similar situations as mine.

        Good luck with your decision.
        That's great advice. Thank you!


        • #5
          Babe, after you chat with him, please let us know what he thinks about thoracoplasty.....

          I was just wondering how your surgery turned out? Everything else turn out ok?

          Usually, we have a slight rib hump after our surgeries and it usually isnít that bad when you think about it.....If your worried about guys noticing and feel that they might not like it, well then its an advantage because it will weed out all the losers for you.....(smiley face)

          49 yr old male, now 63, the new 64...
          Pre surgery curves T70,L70
          ALIF/PSA T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
          Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

          Bending and twisting pics after full fusion

          My x-rays


          • #6
            Rib hum/sticking out shoulder blade and scars

            I just wanted to say that I TOTALLY understand how you feel about your rib hump. I had surgery thirty years ago, and my rib hump - (that is, my right shoulder blade) was not improved at all. So, I have lived with it sticking out my whole life and it has NEVER stopped bothering me on a cosmetic level. My curve after surgery was still 47 degrees, and the rib hump was and is prominent. From the side, I feel like I look like a hunchback. Many times I've wondered why I couldn't just get the bone shaved down or something. And yes, I did consider a thorocoplasty. My solution was to keep my hair long. I stand with my back to my hairdresser, and he cuts it so that it just covers the top of the shoulder blade, and this seems to be long enough so that it is not noticeable. I'm almost fifty now, and I still wear my hair long. Of course I also wear it up quite a bit, and those times I try to wear a cardigan or a coat so it's not as noticeable. And I avoid super clingy fabrics. I think the fact that those of us with corrected Scoliosis are standing straight up helps; that is, we are not hunched over unless we're in pain. I myself had a career as a performer and was on the stage a lot, and with my hair up. The shoulder blade sticking out is not as noticeable as one might think. But it it bothers you and since you're young, I hope you will follow your instincts and do everything you can do make yourself feel and look better. The surgeon would probably be able to find a way for the insurance to cover it. After all, having a shoulder blade that sticks out is not comfortable, and so he could say that you needed it to reduce pain and discomfort.

            The thing that bugs me is my long spinal scar. The cosmetic surgeons have told me that there is no way to remove it, and while under surgery for Liposuction years ago, I had the doc use dermabrasion on it, but it didn't do anything. I am still very self-conscious about it and frankly at this point I am going to go for a tattoo to cover at least the top of it. Maybe a long pretty vine or something.

            Wishing you the best,
            1st surgery: Fused T1-L3 in 1987 with contoured Harrington Rods. Rods broke at top.
            2nd surgery: Re-done two weeks later; fused C7-L3. Left in chronic pain.
            3rd surgery: Hardware removal 1997, but still pain for 30 years.
            4th Surgery: Fused to the sacrum in 2016. Came out of surgery with left foot paralysis. (Drop Foot) Can't walk on my own.
            I'm blessed to have found my peace and reason to live not from a husband or kids (I have none) but from God and within myself.


            • #7
              How many ribs do you intend to take out? How many do they cut usually?

              My ribs still bother me after my corrective scoliosis surgery , mainly while I am typing and holding a mouse when working on a pc. They interfere with the shoulder resting position,
              Last edited by richardis; 07-05-2016, 07:00 PM.


              • #8
                I am also wondering how do they (de)reattach the muscles to the ribs. After the ribs cut grow out how the muscles reattach?
                Last edited by richardis; 07-06-2016, 10:38 AM.