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Thread: Rate of Paralysis

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
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    3

    Rate of Paralysis

    Hi, I am new to this forum. The thing that scares me the most about this surgery is the risk of paralysis. I have read that it is less than 1%. That percentage originally sounded pretty good to me but then I realized that that means that 10 out of every 1000 patients who have scoliosis surgery become permanently paralyzed and that sounds terrifying. For old-timers on this board (or anyone that knows anything about this risk) is permanent paralysis a risk that you would be greatly worried about?

    Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scoliosis182 View Post
    Hi, I am new to this forum. The thing that scares me the most about this surgery is the risk of paralysis. I have read that it is less than 1%. That percentage originally sounded pretty good to me but then I realized that that means that 10 out of every 1000 patients who have scoliosis surgery become permanently paralyzed and that sounds terrifying. For old-timers on this board (or anyone that knows anything about this risk) is permanent paralysis a risk that you would be greatly worried about?

    Thank you in advance!
    I don't think that's correct. I think the 1% is permanent neurologic injury. Neurologic injury does not usually result in paralysis. I know thousands of people who have had scoliosis surgery, and I can't think of one who is paralyzed.

    With that said, there are a lot of bad things that can result from surgery. That's why I try to discourage adults from having surgery, without seriously considering what can happen. The chance that you'll have a really serious long-term or permanent complication is less than 2%. Nonetheless, if you're one of the unlucky ones, statistics are meaningless.

    --Linda
    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. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
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    1,107
    Welcome to the forum. It does seem that a lot of posters haven't been on the forum.
    I only know of Dr. Lenke by what different members have posted. All was good.
    There is a lot of worry before surgery but I don't recall being worried about being paralysis.
    There is one member here that had a spinal, life altering nerve injury but it was after surgery. I am not sure the time but it was more than a year.
    There was a very high kyphosis that pulled the hardware to the spinal cord.
    I also had a surgical nerve injury to the long thoracic nerve. This created a winging of my scapula which disrupts the movement of the arm. It did not recover and I had multiple surgeries to help recover the arm movement.
    It is a big decision and a good surgical team. But things happen.
    It is hard to say why someone has a problem like this
    T10-pelvis fusion 12/08
    C5,6,7 fusion 9/10
    T2--T10 fusion 2/11
    C 4-5 fusion 11/14
    Right scapulectomy 6/15
    Right pectoralis major muscle transfer to scapula
    To replace the action of Serratus Anterior muscle 3/16
    Broken neck 9/28/2018
    Emergency surgery posterior fusion C4- T3
    Repeated 11/2018 because rods pulled apart added T2 fusion
    Removal of partial right thoracic hardware 1/2020
    Removal and replacement of C4-T10 hardware with C7 and T 1
    Osteotomy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
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    4,472
    Quote Originally Posted by Scoliosis182 View Post
    is permanent paralysis a risk that you would be greatly worried about?
    No....

    Pseudarthrosis (Non union) and infections are the main complications....

    We need to fuse. If we don't, there is a high chance our rods will break. (Paperclip theory) If they break, revision surgery is usually needed to repair that level that didn't fuse.

    Infection...Staph and P-Acnes. Staph is everywhere. You can also get Staph without surgery, I had it when I was 19.

    How old are you? Are you male or female? How large are your Cobbs or curves and when were you diagnosed?

    Are you in the city? I grew up in Wayne, NJ.

    Ed
    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
    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. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,610

    Partial T4,5 Paraplegia

    Greetings to everyone. I occasionally read this Forum and somewhat strange that I read it tonight and the topic is "things that go bump in the dark". I am fused from T2 to sacrum. My original 2 day surgery to correct my 25x36 degree curves from degenerative scoliosis occurred in March 2013. In late July, early August of 2014 I started to have some leg weakness. Finally, it was discovered that my hardware was pulling out at T4,5 and as it did, the pedicle screw "indented" the spinal cord. I started having sensations of electric shocks followed by spasms. I had some intervals of total paralysis bilaterally. After emergency surgery to remove the pedicle screw that was indenting my spinal cord, I went to 6 weeks of inpatient rehab. I have had subsequent surgeries for broken rods and lots more PT/OT. I had other complications from spine surgery including spine infection from p.Acnes, abdominal incisional hernia, and pulmonary embolus [4 small clots in left lower lobe]. I currently use a wheelchair around the house and for distances, and forearm crutches for short distances. My diagnosis is Partial Thoracic Paraplegia.

    My advice to anyone contemplating any surgery is to understand the risk and benefit and try alternative treatments/interventions before agreeing to having scoliosis surgery. Looking back on my surgical outcome, I am overall happy that I had scoliosis surgery. I was in severe pain before surgery and one of the surgeons said that if I did not have the corrective surgery, I would be confined to a wheelchair and on narcotics within 5 years. I am 75 now and I have a good quality of life and do not regret having spinal surgery. I am grateful to the 3 doctors that rebuilt my spine. There is a very long thread that I wrote about my scoliosis surgical journey starting in 2012 or 13.

    Susan Green Cooksey
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    1,107
    Susan I am glad you checked the forum and posted about your complications. I was of course speaking of you in my post.
    We all know that things can go very wrong and I am sure there is much more than you just posted. But we have spoke to each other.
    Just like my case with injury to the long thoracic nerve. It is probably not common, but it happened. Sounds like or well but the nerve controls the muscles that hold the scapula in place. And the scapula is responsible for some of the movement of the arm. Approximately 30%. But most important is the shoulder stability.

    Since I just had it fixed 2months ago, I haven't been allowed to uses it . I have 1 more month before PT begins with strength and my active movement. As of now, the shoulder is in place and I am learning a new balance.
    Time will tell.

    Take away from this conversation is things can happen that are not common.
    T10-pelvis fusion 12/08
    C5,6,7 fusion 9/10
    T2--T10 fusion 2/11
    C 4-5 fusion 11/14
    Right scapulectomy 6/15
    Right pectoralis major muscle transfer to scapula
    To replace the action of Serratus Anterior muscle 3/16
    Broken neck 9/28/2018
    Emergency surgery posterior fusion C4- T3
    Repeated 11/2018 because rods pulled apart added T2 fusion
    Removal of partial right thoracic hardware 1/2020
    Removal and replacement of C4-T10 hardware with C7 and T 1
    Osteotomy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    4,472
    We don't know if this person has 11 degree Cobbs, or 111 degree Cobbs.
    We don't know if this person is 11 or 111 years old.

    You can't lump all scoliosis outcomes together and make a general paralysis statement of less than 1%

    It could be zero, and we know that's incorrect.

    Let's flip this coin...

    What percentage of scoliosis surgical candidates end up paralyzed due to avoiding or delaying needed surgery?

    Since there has been no reply from Scoliosis 182, can we assume it's a shill? A brace or alternative method plant knocking surgery using scare tactics for their benefit at the expense of all of us.

    Ed
    Last edited by titaniumed; 01-09-2022 at 02:43 PM.
    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
    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

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