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Thread: which degree needs surgery?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    11

    which degree needs surgery?

    Hi dear friends.
    I want to know at which degree we are forced to do a surgery?
    #1 - I am a girl with 40 degree Curve. Do I need a surgery ?
    I dont use a brace for about 2 years ! because my doctor said brace will not help me anymore because I am 22 years old
    but my degree is fix from 2 years a go until now.
    please help me.
    #2 - how can I decrease my curve ? i mean exept surgery
    22 years old - girl - 40 degree curve - to the left - no surgery yet

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    31
    Some quick attempts at broad brush answers.

    At 40 degrees the long term stability is an open question but I think few doctors would recomend surgery unless other problems were present.

    The lack of progression over the last two years is a good sign. You need to keep an eye on the curves, save your x-rays etc.

    Weight gain and child bearing seem to be troublemakers for increasing curves so keep fit and make taking care of yourself a priority.

    Typically if you reach 50 degrees, the spine will continue to progress.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    11
    thank you for the reply
    any other ideas about me and my curve ?
    22 years old - girl - 40 degree curve - to the left - no surgery yet

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Lawrence, Kansas/ Overland Park, KS
    Posts
    195
    hey,
    I have a 42 degree curve, and i'm 19... so done growing like you. Right now i have decided not to have surgery and just keep watching it because my back hurts a lot. If you aren't in a lot of discomfort, i'd say to just keep getting it checked and stay in shape... those are your best bets. There isn't really anything to make the curve better i don't think

    Abbie
    aBbiE
    22 yr old F,KU college student
    Kyphoscoliosis...
    Scoliosis (25T, 23L) diagnosed @ 14 yrs old; curves June 08 were 45T, 32L with 18 degree rotation
    Kyphosis of 65 degrees...
    I am missing a lumbar vertebrae

    Surgery 6/30/2008 with Dr. Lawrence Lenke
    Fused T2-L2


    before/after pics
    all smiles!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Sacramento,Calif.
    Posts
    420
    Hi,

    Unfortunately your curve won't correct it's self and you can't do anything to correct it. If there was we would have done it! If you have a curve that is rapidly progressing or the pain is effecting your life then it's probably time to start to plan on surgery. Most Dr's wait untill the curve is approaching 50* but this isn't always the case. (Also at 50* gravity can start to effect your curve.) Your curve staying the same for the last 2 years is good, you are lucky. Mine went 4* per year. I had surgery at 49*. In the 6 months before my surgery the pain got so bad I could only function for about 3 hours per day. I might have done better if I had pain meds of some type, I was only using ibuprofen. But, I wanted to get the surgery done while I was is great shape and youngish. (43) Make sure you keep getting your curve checked.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    11
    thank you very much...
    but I think we can decrease our curve via sport,exercise and swimming...
    22 years old - girl - 40 degree curve - to the left - no surgery yet

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Euharlee, Georgia
    Posts
    449
    Swimming is great to strengthen the muscles in your back. As for correction, traction might help a little, but it could also trigger it to grow more.
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    11
    rainbow2010

    what do you mean ?
    but it could also trigger it to grow more.
    22 years old - girl - 40 degree curve - to the left - no surgery yet

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,293

    Question exercise/sport increasing/decreasing curves

    rainbow2010
    Swimming is great to strengthen the muscles in your back. As for correction, traction might help a little, but it could also trigger it to grow more.
    metillan
    thank you very much...
    but I think we can decrease our curve via sport,exercise and swimming...

    So far no exercise/sport has been shown to halt or "speed up" curves.
    If anyone here has definite proof please let us know because so far many of us have tried without success.

    Those things are great for fitness and well-being but progressing scoliosis curves seem to "march to their own drummer".
    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    31
    I think Suzie's description is a perfect example of when surgery becomes necessary. Progression of 2+ degrees a year and pain are going to catch up with you. My wife woke up today (seven months post surgery) and said she was the happiest she has been in over a year. I also noticed she was comfortably snoozing on the incision side! (She had a world class anterior/lateral incision at least 20" long).

    Joe

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzy
    Hi,

    Unfortunately your curve won't correct it's self and you can't do anything to correct it. If there was we would have done it! If you have a curve that is rapidly progressing or the pain is effecting your life then it's probably time to start to plan on surgery. Most Dr's wait untill the curve is approaching 50* but this isn't always the case. (Also at 50* gravity can start to effect your curve.) Your curve staying the same for the last 2 years is good, you are lucky. Mine went 4* per year. I had surgery at 49*. In the 6 months before my surgery the pain got so bad I could only function for about 3 hours per day. I might have done better if I had pain meds of some type, I was only using ibuprofen. But, I wanted to get the surgery done while I was is great shape and youngish. (43) Make sure you keep getting your curve checked.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    51
    I totally agree with Joe and Suzy. I tried chiropractic, exercise, and crazy sleeping positions to try and keep my curve from getting worse but nothing worked. If your curve is progressing at each check-up then you should consider having it done sooner rather than later. The smaller the curve, the more they'll be able to straighten you up during the surgery. I feel I waited too long for my first surgery but hindsight's always 20/20. It's a big decision to make. But I would be a lot straighter now if I had done what the doctors recommended early on. Best advice is for you to go to a good orthopedic surgeon and get their advice.
    { sarah }

    Posterior Spinal Fusion for a 76 degree curve in 2000 at age 19. Two rods placed, fused from T4 to L2. Curve reduced to a 29.
    One rod broken and noticing increased pain in 2004. Curve progressed to 39.
    March 2007 Revision surgery- Rods removed and discovery of unhealed fusion. Had new rods placed along with new bone from Thoracoplasty and BMP.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    28
    metillan and Abbie,

    I am in a similar position. I have around a 52 degree curve (you never know exactly because it changes throughout the day). I have decided not to get surgery. My doctor recommended it last time I went to him in Feburary, but I think he's crazy. I have no pain. I recently went to an amusement park and walked around all day without a problem. I do yoga for 20 minutes every day (I am aiming for more) and plan to start swimming when I get to college. I also am thinking about getting physical therapy to strengthen the weak side of my back because I have no idea which exercises are good and which are not. I plan to be surgery-free unless I have really bad pain when I am in my 40's or 50's. One doctor told me never to get a job standing up or I will want surgery by the time I am 45, something to think about.

    April
    April

    Scoliosis discovered at 14 and 9 month-- 47 degrees
    Boston brace for 2 years (only 12 / 23 hours a day)
    Now 18 years old
    Thoracic curve 35, Lumbar curve about 52 degrees

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    51
    I could be totally wrong and I have no medical information about this but it seems that people with "S" curves would be less likely to require surgery than people who have just one curve. Because it seems like gravity would continually pull you down on that one side with the curve until you did something about it (as it did in my case). But if you were more "balanced" with an S curve, it seems like you would have a greater chance of leveling out eventually, thus not requiring surgery. So in your case April, I could see your point in wanting to avoid surgery. But like I said, I have no clue if that's true or not. I'm sure there could be many other factors involved besides curve progression.
    { sarah }

    Posterior Spinal Fusion for a 76 degree curve in 2000 at age 19. Two rods placed, fused from T4 to L2. Curve reduced to a 29.
    One rod broken and noticing increased pain in 2004. Curve progressed to 39.
    March 2007 Revision surgery- Rods removed and discovery of unhealed fusion. Had new rods placed along with new bone from Thoracoplasty and BMP.

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