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Thread: Loss of Flexibility and Fusion to L5

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    20

    Loss of Flexibility and Fusion to L5

    My main curve is lumbar and the first doctor I saw indicated he'd fuse to L5. Could anyone mention how a fusion to L5 permanently affects flexibility on a day-to-day basis? Wonder if I'll be able to tie my shoes, get stockings on, etc.

    Thanks!
    _____________________________

    Diagnosed at 9, Boston brace during teenage years
    56* left thoracolumbar curve, slight rib hump
    Deciding on timing for surgery

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    I'm fused to L5 and to I did lose quite a bit of flexibility. I haven't tried to put pantyhose on, tell you the truth -- I wear pants all the time. I still use a sock-aid to put on socks, and I have a difficult time cutting my toenails, though it can be done. I can bend from the hips but keep even that to a minimum. If I work diligently on stretching my hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors, I'm more flexible.

    I am probably more cautious than other people here, but I'm a bit paranoid about injuring myself.
    Chris
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
    Pre-op thoracolumbar curve: 70 degrees
    Post-op curve: 12 degrees
    Dr. Boachie-adjei, HSS, New York

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    20
    Chris,

    Thanks for your post. What a great level of correction! Congrats on that. I guess there is hope that my lumbar curve can improve a lot after surgery.
    I have seen only one Dr so far, and plan o getting 2nd and 3rd opinions in the upcoming months. I heard that each Dr. might have different approaches about fusing too low or too high. I am curious to find out the reason why your surgeon fused to L5 as opposed to do something that would allow for more flexibility in the future? Just trying to understand this fusion business...

    I am almost 37 years old and I have no idea if a personís age also comes into consideration. I am tortured with the loss of flexibility issue (have a 10 months/old baby at home)...This is getting tougher than I thought!

    Regards,
    _____________________________

    Diagnosed at 9, Boston brace during teenage years
    56* left thoracolumbar curve, slight rib hump
    Deciding on timing for surgery

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Huxley, Iowa
    Posts
    190
    Hi Mauxi. I am fused to the pelvis, and thus far, aside from socks and shoe issues, and the bending/twisting that my surgeon isnt allowing me to do yet, it hasnt really been a problem. If this is any indication, I tripped the other day and ended up bent completley over, hand on the carpet...so while it was painful, there is flexibilty there.
    25 years old
    double 70+ degree curves before surgery
    Anterior on 11/11/08
    Posterior on 12/2/08 with titanium rods
    nearly perfect correction
    fused t-10 to pelvis
    with a hemi-vertebral osteotomy at L4

    Broke right rod at L4-L5 on 06/26/09
    Broke left rod on 10/24/09
    Revision surgery on 11/5/09 with vitallium rods
    Broke both rods again

    Had posterior than anterior revisions on 03/11 at the Twin Cities Spine Center
    Declared "FUSED" on 12/6/11

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    106
    Quote Originally Posted by Singer View Post
    I am probably more cautious than other people here, but I'm a bit paranoid about injuring myself.
    I haven't had my surgery yet, but movement after it and getting hurt by pushing too hard is one of my concerns. Your surgery was in 2007. Has your fusion healed?

    Like you I am in my 50's and am very interested in the post-op healing and recovery period.

    Sheri
    At age 56 my curves measured: 48/60/30 with lots of rotation and getting worse
    Posterior fusion T5-L4 June 30, 2009
    Excellent correction

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Fernley, Nevada
    Posts
    352
    Mauxi,

    I'm fused from T4-S1. I had my surgery back in '02. I'am now 60 years old. At this point I can now tie my shoes. I have learned how to get down on my knees to pull weeds in the yard and get back up again. You learn how to do things a little differantly. So with practice you will be able to do just about everything that you are doing now.

    Good luck with your search for the right doc

    Sandy
    P.S. I can also paint my own toe nails LOL
    SandyC

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    Mauxi, you are younger and that could make a big difference with your recovery. My curve was mostly lumbar -- the top part of the curve was compensatory -- so it was really a question of whether to fuse to S1 or L5 and the surgeon thought stopping at L5 would give me more flexibility. Yes, I got a fantastic correction -- I turned out to have a very flexible curve. But I have a LOT of hardware in there, and it's contributed to my post-op stiffness.

    Sheri -- yes, my fusion is healed, but I am still progressing in terms of comfort and what I'm capable of doing. I'm still trying to find a balance between living life/pushing myself and protecting my body, and I've probably been OVERprotective most of the time.

    Everyone is so different, it's really difficult to generalize.
    Chris
    A/P fusion on June 19, 2007 at age 52; T10-L5
    Pre-op thoracolumbar curve: 70 degrees
    Post-op curve: 12 degrees
    Dr. Boachie-adjei, HSS, New York

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Hi Mauxi,
    I am fused from L2 to the sacrum. I can easily tie my own shoes and with some difficulty can cut my own toenails and can put on panty hose.
    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Tasmania
    Posts
    259
    I have never had any problems with being fused, none at all.

    I can dance with the best of them,( yes, dance thru the pain) cant bend at the waist of course but bend down from the hips. Please dont worry as our bodies are wonderful and truly adapt.

    Regards
    Macky
    Last edited by macky; 04-16-2009 at 07:32 PM. Reason: added a little more
    Operation 1966, Fused from T4 to L3, had Harrington rods inserted. Originally had an 85 degree Thoracic curve with lumbar scoliosis as well but had a good correction.
    Perfectly normal life till 1997 but now in a lot of pain daily. Consider myself very fortunate though.

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