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Thread: The benefits of being fused

  1. #76
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    reno,nevada
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    4,390
    Koot
    Your welcome. I was looking at my old threads the other day and thought I would bump this one for those coming up soon. Tonibunny has a thread on SOS about things you can do with a fused spine. Thatís a good one also.

    Evelyn
    No worries. Your almost through the hardest part of all of this, things will start getting much better soon. Take your recovery one day at a time....Congratulations.

    Karen is proof that golf is a reality after scoliosis surgery.....thank you for posting! We sports minded people can be pretty demanding. Not only do we want a successful surgery but need to continue with our sport. I delayed 34 years mainly due to my skiing.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 62, the new 63...
    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
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  2. #77
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    213
    One of best part of the surgery is my increased lung capacity (my spine was getting more crooked and starting to rotate and starting to smush my lungs).

    The second is that before I knew such a surgery existed for people of our age (50ish)....I thought I would be one of those little old ladies all hunched over looking at the floor whereever I go. That won't be the case now.

    I wasn't in much pain before so there is more discomfort now, but knowing this would have led to an early death, it's worth it.
    Discovered scoliosis when 15 years old.
    Wore Milwaulkee Brace for 1.5 years.
    Top curve 85 degrees, bottom curve 60 degrees

    Surgery completed August 23, 2011 (during an earthquake, can you believe that?)
    Dr. Charles Edwards, II
    The Spine Center at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore, MD
    Before and after xrays:
    http://www.valley-designs.com/myspine

  3. #78
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,712
    I was 60 when I had my surgery and have to agree with everything djkinkead just posted. I thought that even if the surgery would be successful, that I was sacrificing a year of my life during the recovery. I was extremely active pre-op and only had pain if standing for a short period of time. I was playing competitive golf and constantly on the move. The surgery was successful and a tough one, but nothing like I had feared. After the 5 weeks, life started returning close to normal with adaptations. Having this elective surgery is probably the best major decision I've made in my life!
    Karen

    Surgery-Jan. 5, 2011-Dr. Lenke
    Fusion T-4-sacrum-2 cages/5 osteotomies
    70 degree thoracolumbar corrected to 25
    Rib Hump-GONE!
    Age-60 at the time of surgery
    Now 66
    Avid Golfer & Tap Dancer
    Retired Kdgn. Teacher

    See photobucket link for:
    Video of my 1st Day of Golf Post-Op-3/02/12-Bradenton, FL
    Before and After Picture of back 1/7/11
    tap dancing picture at 10 mos. post op 11/11/11-I'm the one on the right.
    http://s1119.photobucket.com/albums/k630/pottoff2/

  4. #79
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    reno,nevada
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    Scoliosis is everywhere! Man-o-man!

    Since I talk scoliosis often, I hear about or run into people that have not had the benefits that I have had....you know what saying. Every time this happens, its like being shot though the heart.

    Most of these cases are from people that have waited too long......

    If you have scoliosis, go to a scoliosis surgeon and get looked at. I know there are many readers out there that are silent and scared to death, but you owe it to yourself to go and at least get looked at.......Iím not saying have surgery, Iím saying get checked out.

    Just do it.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 62, the new 63...
    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
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  5. #80
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
    Posts
    1,712
    I agree with Ed. You can't ignore it forever and it is definitely not wise to wait too long and no longer have options. I have had several local people call me and inquire about the surgery. I think most of them have set up appointments with Dr. Lenke and one was told that she would eventually need surgery, but that she could wait a few year. At least, now she knows her options and has a plan.

    I thought about this thread the other day when I was practicing my chipping and putting. I used to quit after 10 minutes because the bent over position of putting hurt my back before my surgery. Now, I have no excuse for not practicing more on my putting! It suddenly dawned on me after about 25 minutes of practicing that my back didn't hurt at all.
    Karen

    Surgery-Jan. 5, 2011-Dr. Lenke
    Fusion T-4-sacrum-2 cages/5 osteotomies
    70 degree thoracolumbar corrected to 25
    Rib Hump-GONE!
    Age-60 at the time of surgery
    Now 66
    Avid Golfer & Tap Dancer
    Retired Kdgn. Teacher

    See photobucket link for:
    Video of my 1st Day of Golf Post-Op-3/02/12-Bradenton, FL
    Before and After Picture of back 1/7/11
    tap dancing picture at 10 mos. post op 11/11/11-I'm the one on the right.
    http://s1119.photobucket.com/albums/k630/pottoff2/

  6. #81
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
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    1,607
    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo's Mom View Post
    Yes, but you don't read about the many people who DON'T need revision surgery because they are off living their lives! Always important to remember that internet forums tend to show more of the bad and less of the good. This one has the benefit of a number of "regulars" who have gone on with their lives but still stick around to help out the rest of us.

    When I was deciding whether or not to have Lasik on my ridiculously near-sighted eyes, I read horror story after horror story on the internet and then just decided to stop reading and get on with it, already. I don't feel any need to go online to talk about my success with Lasik, but you can bet if I'd had something awful happen I'd be squinting at my computer and typing out my grief on some forum or another.

    But yeah, I'm also afraid of being worse than before, but hey, at least we'll LOOK so much better! That's worth something!

    I'm almost two weeks post-op from my first little deal with the devil, with no guarantees of how it will work out, and no way of knowing if/when/how soon I'll be looking at the Real Deal. To me, it mainly comes down to, "Can I live with what I have right now?" Until the answer is an unequivocal yes, it's hard to jump in the water.
    This speaks to me and my quandry re: have surgery or not? I like the last statement about "Can I live w/ what I have right now?". I think that I will probably my pain threshold is too high and that I am tolerating too much pain. I hear all of the wonderful stories of pain relief and stories of being able to cook without pain and I am jealous. Then again, I read the stories of the revisions and the stories of the people that are sorry that they had surgery and I think tht I can just keep taking my pain meds and doing my exercises and ice packs and TENS unit and go on living like I am. My surgeon said that: 80% are better w/ the surgery, 15% the same, 5% worse, 1/200 die. I'm usually an optimist, but I see myself as the 20% not profitting from the surgery and wonder about the death risk, although I'm in good health. I'm not sure how to process all of this information and make a decision. I don't care about looking better although I do lean to the right noticeably, but I'm 65 and I'm past vanity. Thanks for starting this blog. I have enjoyed reading the entries. Susan
    Adult Onset Degen Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Sev disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal SCI T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Rev Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone
    2018: Removal L4,5 screw
    2021: Removal T1 screw & rod

  7. #82
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    970
    Are you sure about that 1 in 200 number? My surgeon said the chance of dying during scoliosis surgery was less than the chance of getting struck by lightning. Linda, do you know? I think this is a serious concern for people, even though it's highly unlikely.
    age 48
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Broken rods 12/1/19; scheduled for revision fusion L1-L3-4 with Dr. Lenke 2/4/2020
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

  8. #83
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    169
    I can honestly say with absolute truth that I have never, ever regretted having the surgery NEVER EVER. I would not have had any type of life without it, and if I had to make that decision over again I would have it done in a heartbeat. My mother made the decision for me back in 1966 and bless her heart it would not have been easy and I know she was scared as it was all so new back then, but thank goodness she was a glass half full kind of person. I just wish she could still be here to see my other son she missed out on and my beautiful grand children that I would never have had without the operation, she passed away in 1974.

    We can fall over in the shower, hit our head and die, walk out the front door and be hit by a car and die, life is for living so grab it with both hands, I will get off the soap box now. xx

    Lorraine.
    Operated on in 1966, harrington rods inserted from T4 to L3, here in Australia. Fusion of the said vertebrae as well. Problems for the last 14 years with pain.
    Something I feel deeply,"Life is like money,you can spend it anyway you wish, but can only spend it once.

  9. #84
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    United Kingdom, Leeds
    Posts
    128

    Happy

    Thanks guys for all your comments on this thread.

    I've already decided on further corrective surgery due to the increased sizes of my curves and loss of lung capacity but it makes me feel so happy knowing that so many of you feel there are many more positives to having surgery and spelling them out.

    I always get annoyed at how restricted I am and how quickly I start hurting after standing, walking, sitting, cooking, dancing etc. All I ever think when I'm on a night out or enjoying a nice walk is why can't I just have one day where I'm not in pain and can do "normal activities" and enjoy a nice walk or night out without being in agony.

    I'm counting down to my surgery and can't wait to tell you all what positives I can add to the list :-)

    Jenna
    27 yr old Female.
    Scoliosis since 12yrs, fusion to lower curve in 1998, costioplast 2001 and further corrective surgery 26 July 2012.
    Now the proud owner of a very straight spine. T1- L5 fusion.
    Mr Dunsmuir, Orthopaedic Surgeon, LGI Leeds.

  10. #85
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    Sep 2003
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,293

    Exclamation benefits/dangers of scoliosis surgery

    I had a revision 10 years ago at age 60 and have no pain. I just turned 70. My original surgery was in 1956 and lasted me until 60. No hardware caused loss of correction. One might say "but you needed a revision!" That was the state-of-the art at the time and I got a good 40+ years out of it. Being a practicing nurse-anesthetist at the time I knew, more than most, the dangers involved. I saw what my curves were doing to my health and since had no other co-morbidities such as heart disease/severe diabetes/terminal disease I realized the scoliosis was giving me a slow death. I did not want to suffer the remainder of my life with something correctable and be a burden on my husband or family. Since my normal life expectancy, at the time was > 20 years a knew that I would only get worse.

    It takes a lot of courage to go through with such a big procedure but the improved quality of life was well worth it. I hear a lot of fears about complications and bad results. Keep in mind: most persons go happily on with their lives after this surgery.
    You will hear more complainers on-line than the majority of successful outcomes.
    Doctors who have no experience with scoliosis and are not up-to-date have have no business giving advice and instilling fear in patients.
    Persons who have not the surgery and are afraid of the the surgery cannot give surgical advice. They and can instill their fear on others considering surgery.

    Did you ever hear someone, who hasn't had kids give advice to a mom with kids?
    Last edited by Karen Ocker; 06-04-2012 at 06:47 PM. Reason: grammar
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  11. #86
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    York, PA
    Posts
    332
    I don't know if this goes along with this thread or not but am going to share anyway. Was in a shoe store recently being waited on (yes, there are still stores that do that) by a very attractive young woman, probably in her mid-20's. I mentioned something about the fact that I had had extensive back surgery, so I don't buy cheap shoes anymore. She looked at me and said "Yes, I have something called scoliosis, was an athlete in high school and now am having all kinds of pain, tendonitis, etc. etc. and my Dr. thinks I should be in a brace." I almost fell off the chair. It was almost like one of those "meant to be there" things. Anyway, I told her v. briefly about my experience, referred her to this forum and told her to find a Dr. who really knows the condition which is not always easy outside of a major metropolitan area. (A brace at her age, seriously???) She was grateful to the point of tears, writing everything down and saying how she never knew anyone else that had it.

    I know exactly how that girl felt and I hope that if nothing else, I might have give her some encouragement. I am now over 2 years post-op and yes, there is significant improvement in that 2nd-3rd year. I truly feel normal. Am working in the gym with a trainer who is aware of my issues and am amazed at what I have been able to do. He's very impressed with how long I can hold planks (which is a great, safe ab strengthener for people with back issues) and I told him it was the hardware that helps! Instead of limiting my life, my surgery has allowed me to live it to the fullest, thanks be to God and a great physician.


    Anne in PA
    Age 58
    Diagnosed at age 14, untreated, no problem until age 50
    T4 to sacrum fusion
    63 thoracic now 35, 92 lumbar now 53
    Dr. Baron Lonner, 2/2/10
    Am pain-free, balanced, happy & an inch taller !

  12. #87
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    169
    Just loving the stories on this, Karen you made me think Wow I still have the same hardware I had 46 years ago. I have followed your journey and can remember very clearly when you had your surgery, cannot believe it was 10 years ago though that seems to have gone so quickly. I truly think that your original fusion lasting for so many years was just amazing, I mean I had the hardware and all you had was the fusion for 40+ years, just wonderful.

    Anna I truly believe you were meant to be at that shop at that particular time to give that advice to that sales lady, how great that was.Love your positive attitude Jenna and truly wish you all the very best, you are going to feel fantastic once the initial time of getting over the op is over.

    There are so many wonderful people on this forum and Ed can't thank you enough for starting this topic as it is such a great thing to talk about, and is so good to hear so many happy stories about all of us who had the surgery, and all at different times of our lives from Karen in the 1950s myself in the 1960s and so many more up to the present day. Also many many more who have yet to have it just like Jenna, good luck to you all.

    Lorraine
    Operated on in 1966, harrington rods inserted from T4 to L3, here in Australia. Fusion of the said vertebrae as well. Problems for the last 14 years with pain.
    Something I feel deeply,"Life is like money,you can spend it anyway you wish, but can only spend it once.

  13. #88
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    reno,nevada
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    4,390
    A bump just in case any of you going in soon have missed this thread.....

    Happy birthday Linda!

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 62, the new 63...
    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
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  14. #89
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    kansas
    Posts
    38
    Quote Originally Posted by Confusedmom View Post
    Are you sure about that 1 in 200 number? My surgeon said the chance of dying during scoliosis surgery was less than the chance of getting struck by lightning. Linda, do you know? I think this is a serious concern for people, even though it's highly unlikely.
    I was told by Dr lenke that out of about 5000 surgeries that he's done hes had only one death. The pt had other health issues

  15. #90
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    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
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    1,607
    Quote Originally Posted by maggie6 View Post
    I was told by Dr lenke that out of about 5000 surgeries that he's done hes had only one death. The pt had other health issues
    I will reask the mortality question at my next appointment, but that was the number thath Dr. Hart gave me.
    Susan
    Adult Onset Degen Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Sev disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal SCI T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Rev Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone
    2018: Removal L4,5 screw
    2021: Removal T1 screw & rod

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