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View Full Version : Yes or No to surgery?


butterflylr
13th October 2004, 03:15 AM
I am just wondering what everyone's thoughts on surgery are.

When I found out about my scoliosis at age 15 I went through the hooplah that they send you through talking about bracing and chiropractic care. I went to the chiropractor for about 2 years at least 1 time a week. It did seem to relieve the pain but my curve still progressed. :woe:

Anyway, I can't really afford to go to the chiropractor anymore and if my curve is still progressing anyway, should I pursue surgery? I have been having a LOT of new strange pains and they are a lot worse than they used to be so I am just thinking to get it done and stop worrying about it so much. Of course I know that recovery is long and it doesn't solve everything but I am just so tired of not knowing how my back is going to progress and whatnot.

What do you think? My curves (last I checked about 2 yrs ago) were 50 thoracic and 30 lumbar. Thats about an 8 degree increase since I found out about it at age 15.

I know nobody is a doctor here I am really just wondering what your experiences have been. Did you seem to have less pain than before or was it about the same? How long for recovery? That sort of info is good to know too. Overall, would you say if it were up to you (about me or you or whatever), DO IT or NO WAY!? :???:

Amazed Jean
13th October 2004, 04:24 AM
When I was about your age I felt bullet-proof and invincible and I ignored my spine for years despite ever increasing pain and my lung function getting worse and worse. I was newly married and happy as one could be. Life was good but in my heart of hearts I knew that I should be pounding down doors to get the right doctor to look at me. Well I didn't . I just ignored my spine and now I wish that I could go back and at least had someone stop further movement. I hate to tell you young guys this but you are not bullet-proof and invincible. Human bodies deterioate. It sucks but there it is. I don't think you can predict what life will throw at you. But at least listen to your body tell you it needs help -- It does this by hurting. Its yelling get help. I know chiropractic makes things feel better but its not the answer long term. Stabilizing your spine while you are young makes sense. If you have questions ask for help. SSOers can help. At the same time, find the best doctor you can and ask questions and get xrays and lung function tests etc. Here's one thing I do know - your spine is NOT going to get better all on it's own. I really don't want to scare you but I do want to encourage you to not wait.

jfkimberly
13th October 2004, 08:20 AM
Lindsay: At your age, with a curve of 50, you're a likely surgical candidate. As you get older, you're less suitable for surgery, so if you wait and then need surgery later, it becomes a lot more difficult. If you're reluctant to have surgery now, be sure to monitor your curves closely to make sure you really are remaining stable. Just because you're out of adolescence and its related rapid-growth period doesn't mean you're home free.

If I was in your position, I'd opt for surgery. Deal with it as best you can now, when you know you can.

BarmyArmy
13th October 2004, 09:50 AM
I agree with Amaxed and Kimberly, if I was in your position I wouldn't put it off.

Obviously I would be bit scared and worried but having spoken to everyone on here I'm not as paranoid about the thought of surgery as I once was. If I was offered surgery in my situation then I would honestly take it too. But when your younger and are given this chance you should take it IMHO. Your quality of life will increase and you won't have to worry so much about it deterating when you get older, which could happen if you leave it

But then like I said I've never had surgery so I'm maybe not the best to hand out words of wisdom.

Crazy16girl
13th October 2004, 10:31 AM
I was 14 when i found out about mine...and 16 when i had the surgery.

If your curve seems to be increasing, and it is a fairly big curve i would go for the surgery. No matter how scared or frightened you get, you will think its all silly after you've had it (well give it a month) believe me :-)

sins
13th October 2004, 11:06 AM
Firstly there's no need to make a decision about surgery right now.
Get an appointment with a specialist scoliosis surgeon and have him/her do a full asessment of your case.Only then will you know for certain if your curve is progressing, you may even have to monitor it for 6 months or a year to be sure.Your surgeon will recommend if you would benefit from surgery. As an adult two things will be a factor in deciding to opt for surgery, increasing pain or curve progression.If you feel that from a cosmetic point of view you would prefer to prevent further deterioration of your chest wall/rib cage appearance then certainly consider surgery.
Your recovery should be fairly rapid, you're still very young.You need to consider your future regarding having children......do you want to have surgery first and then have children or have children first and then surgery?
Get an appointment with a surgeon who is a member of the SRS(Scoliosis research society). www.srs.org
Good luck and let us know how you get on.
Sins

butterflylr
13th October 2004, 05:40 PM
Yeah, I know I need to talk to a specialist for one. But I was wondering if I should push the idea of surgery cause all that I was told when I was younger is "ONLY DO IT IF YOU REALLY HAVE TO!!" How do I know when my pain is bad enough that I really should? I think it is now cause I have such strange pains all the time and they are increasing. My fingers go numb all the time and I have severe pains in my neck and shoulders that never go away. I've kind of learned to deal with them and ignore them.

I've had so much time to contemplate surgery that the idea doesn't even scare me anymore. I would rather have super pain for a while and know that it will be better in the long run. I have been doing all sorts of research on this. I want to make the right decision.

I also know time is of the essence so I would rather get things done when I am young and my body is able to heal better than wait til it's too late and I have to deal with even worse pain for the rest of my life.

I just got a new job and in 2 months I will have medical insurance. Hopefully I won't have to deal with the 9 month "pre-existing condition" waiting period so I can get talking to some doctors. I already have a list of a few good surgeons in my area. Just so much to deal with sometimes! But I know that God only gave me this to deal with to make me stronger. It sucks but I try to deal. :woe:

BlueIce
13th October 2004, 05:50 PM
I knew I had surgery when I was eight or something. I've always known it was bad when I was 16. But I said: it's not hurting, I'll have the surgery once I finish school. Quite like the feeling of being invincible that someone else was talking about.
Then at age 18, I had a car accident. It made me realise I was not invincible and that bad things can happen to me. That same crash was the start of me realising how bad my scoliosis really was. I don't even remember my first xrays so seeing the ones they took in the E.R. was a wake up call. It has led to my surgery sooner than I planned it.
The point of this is: if you need surgery, there's no need to postpone it. The curves will only get worse. You'll heal faster if you're young. But if your doc doesn't think it's necessary, just keep an eye on it. Maybe get a second opinion if you think something needs to be done.

jfkimberly
13th October 2004, 07:07 PM
I didn't read your first post very carefully. I completely glossed over the neurologic symptoms you're having and skipped down to the magnitude of your curves. But factoring in your pain, I would absolutely 100% recommend a surgery consult for you. If there's any hope of relieving some of the pressure on the spinal cord that's causing all the strange pains and numbnes, take that chance. Those symptoms are likely to get worse, not better, if left alone.