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Thread: Spinal Growth

  1. #1
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    Spinal Growth

    I am 17, 18 this summer and a late developer, I had some scans done and my surgeon says I am a year behind the average for my age, in bone maturity.
    I am likely to have spinal surgery this summer, the parts of my spine that are being operated on are the middle bit and the top bit.
    I am only small, about 5'4 to 5'5 and I'm a bit concerned that if I have the surgery might stop anymore spinal growth I have which would obviously mean I would be smaller and I could possibly mean my proportions would be a bit odd.
    I am asking this because my surgery is not urgent, as my surgeon said we have a five year period now where having surgery will have the same result. So what I am asking is whether any of you know when the spine finishes growing, or whether the operation would have the effects I am concerned about?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScolioDan View Post
    ... I am likely to have spinal surgery this summer, the parts of my spine that are being operated on are the middle bit and the top bit.

    I am only small, about 5'4 to 5'5 and I'm a bit concerned that if I have the surgery might stop anymore spinal growth I have which would obviously mean I would be smaller and I could possibly mean my proportions would be a bit odd.

    I am asking this because my surgery is not urgent, as my surgeon said we have a five year period now where having surgery will have the same result. So what I am asking is whether any of you know when the spine finishes growing, or whether the operation would have the effects I am concerned about?
    Dan, your ortho can tell when you're done growing by looking at certain markers (mainly the growth plates). No one can tell you when you're done growing but your doctor. It varies from person to person.

    If you've been told you're not done growing, surgery isn't urgent, and you have 5 years to achieve the same result, why are you rushing into surgery this summer?

    One thing to bear in mind, you will probably *gain* height post-op from the correction. Remind me again how severe your curve is?

    Just my opinion, but if you aren't skeletally mature (and your eventual surgical outcome won't be affected), I'd let your body do all the growing it has left before fusion surgery ...

    Good luck.

    Regards,
    Pam
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
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    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
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  3. #3
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    Oct 2008
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    My curve is around 60.
    The reason it is likely to happen this Summer is because there are a number of advantages to having it done this summer as opposed to others. They are not advantages to do with the surgery or back, but unrelated issues.
    The reason I am a little concerned is that people often talk about how boys can keep growing until they are 21 and that they can have sudden growth spurts at quite late ages, as I am quite a late developer myself I think there is a reasonable chance that I still have some growing left. Even if there is Im not sure whether that will effect the spine.
    I will ask my surgeon the next time I see him about this, but I was also wondering if he says that he believes the spine has finished growing should I take his word for it? Are there definite signs from which you can be certain whether it will grow or not, or just ways of knowing if it is likely?

  4. #4
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    There are fairly definite signs skeletal indicators, Dan. If your surgeon tells you you're mature, you're very unlikely to see much more in the vertical plane.

    It's not a guessing game.
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  5. #5
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    Dan...

    You can still grow in the vertebrae above and below the fusion. So, depending on the number of vertebrae involved, you can still gain some height from growth. And, because your curve will likely be straightened somewhat during surgery, you may actually gain some height from that.

    I've seen people who had surgery when they're very young, and although they may be slightly disproportionate at maturity, it's not at all obvious.

    Good luck.

    Regards,
    Linda
    Last edited by LindaRacine; 03-22-2009 at 01:49 PM.

  6. #6
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    Okay thats interesting. Although Im not too positive about growing much because of the surgery, my surgeon said he didn't wanna risk stretching the spine too much because I have a minor problem with something at the top of my neck.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScolioDan View Post
    Okay thats interesting. Although Im not too positive about growing much because of the surgery, my surgeon said he didn't wanna risk stretching the spine too much because I have a minor problem with something at the top of my neck.
    "Something at the top of your neck"? Like Chiari Malformation?
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    28
    Correct. It used to be an issue but recent scans have shown that I grew out of it, but my surgeon still wants to be careful.

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