View Full Version : My two-year post-op

1st November 2004, 08:46 PM
I had my two-year post-op consultation today. Things went pretty well, I managed to ask all my questions and get a photograph of my before and after xrays, which is what I really wanted to do. My spine has altered very slightly as it settled down into its new position, so whereas it was 24 degrees after surgery, it is now 28 degrees. My surgeon told me that that is normal and shouldn't deteriorate any more than that.

My spine is fused from T7-T12, which is fairly low as anteriors go - it is pretty much in the centre of my spinal column. That means I have 6 fused vertabrae and five discs removed. I also have six screws going straight through which look very viscious on my xrays. The instrumentation is called USS (Universal Spine System) and was apparently from Switzerland.

I also asked about an abnormally-shaped vertabrae that I have in my lower back. My surgeon had not recognised this before, and told me that it is something that I have had from birth. Basically, when the vertabrae grow around the spinal column, they meet at your back (like pointing two fingers together). At this point they usually fuse completely, but one of mine didn't. In severe cases where the child has this abnormality all the way up their spine, they usually suffer from spina bifida. Luckily, only one of my vertabrae decided to be awkward and I do not have the other symptoms linked will spina-bifida.

Below are pictures of my spine before and after surgery, and also one of my USS screws. Notice that I only had the one curve as opposed to two that are usually present. As a result,I had a great deal of rotation and this was what gave me my chest-wall assymetry.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v46/CharlotteE/Scoliosislife/spinebefore.jpg http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v46/CharlotteE/Scoliosislife/spineafter.jpg

1st November 2004, 08:52 PM
Wow... great xrays. Thanks! It looks good, Charlotte. Did the surgeon say anything about the lower vertebrae having any effect on the rest of your spine (e.g., causing your scoliosis)?

1st November 2004, 08:58 PM
Wow! Your screws look worse than mine do!
Glad your appointment went alright, and you got all the info you wanted!

1st November 2004, 09:09 PM
I don't want to be too negative, but I'd suggest to do regular special exercises to keep your spine balanced. Your fusion is very short and the lumbar spine could continue to bend if you totally neglect it!

1st November 2004, 09:26 PM
Charlotte, I'm so glad that you got a good correction and that it has settled to a good one (28 is really good!)Does it seem like two years since your op?
I hope everything works out for you!

1st November 2004, 09:27 PM
Kimberly, my surgeon never mentioned whether it was related to my scoliosis or not - he didn't even know I had it until I showed him. I'm not concerned by it since it is something that I have had from birth, but I would like to know more about it.

Nemesixia, do you have any recommendations for exercises, I really would not like my lumbar spine to curve. Any advice would be really appreciated.

1st November 2004, 09:35 PM
Hi floralgypsy,
I was so happy to see results like that. Hopefully my surgery will leave my spine as straight as that.I had no idea that spines could curve after surgery. Hi nemesixia, I'm a newbie too.Have you had surgery?

1st November 2004, 09:41 PM
Looks like you've had a good correction. Good to know that the curve can get a little bit worse too, I didn't expect that.
Congrats on the two year anniversary too :-)

1st November 2004, 09:50 PM
Originally posted by Elizabeth1@Nov 1 2004, 08:35 PM
Hi floralgypsy,
I was so happy to see results like that. Hopefully my surgery will leave my spine as straight as that.I had no idea that spines could curve after surgery. Hi nemesixia, I'm a newbie too.Have you had surgery?
ooo hi there Welcome welcome....I love it wen newbies come along to SSO!
well :welcome2:
My name is Abbi (well u prob guessed from the name :hammer: ) and I am 18, I come from N.Ireland!
Where abouts r u from, what is your curve degree and when r u gettn surgery.
I will be gettn mine next year, and my curves are two of 80 (a double curve)

1st November 2004, 10:25 PM
Oooh that's great, Charlotte! :D You have a fabulous correction. You don't have much pain, do you? You should be pleased with all this :niceone: Your ribs look completely normal :roll: :D Your fusion is in the centre - how perfect :P Mine is pretty low.

1st November 2004, 10:32 PM
Great x-rays!!! :-) Somehow, they fascinate me.. ;-) Beautiful screws, btw! :niceone:
I have some kind of incomplete formed vertebrae too (S1). It's called spina bifida occulta. It's not very rare (about 10% of all people would have it) and it doesn't cause any problems in most cases! So don't worry about it. :kiss:

Amazed Jean
1st November 2004, 11:17 PM
Wow oh Wow Your pictures are great but they give me cold chills. I have a difficult time reconciling those nasty screws with that sweet auntie pictue. God love ya.

2nd November 2004, 12:00 AM
Sorry I didn't introduce myself yet.
I have thoracic idiopathic scoliosis myself, but I didn't have surgery so far. I think the methods are advancing so very rapidly that the best thing for me to do is wait- at least as long as I can afford it... I don't have any severe symptoms so far.
Floralgypsy, your back does look great, and I bet you don't even notice you're fused at all. But as far as I am informed, a spine is not "normal" after surgery. It's still recommendable to do some exercise to keep the muscles around the spine well balanced and maintain a straight posture over the years. I'm talking about exercise programs that don't put strain on the spine, for example some elements of Pilates. Ore just sitting on one of those big gymnastic balls... Here in Germany we have a very effective spinal exercise program, the "Schroth" program, which is great before and after surgery (or even instead...)

2nd November 2004, 01:01 AM
Those xrays are gorgeous Charlotte! The incomplete vertabrae is very interesting. even more interesting that you found it when your doctor didn't! Your screws are pointy... mine look more like the ones used for building. It's always interesting to see different types of instrumentation. Congrats on your appointment!!!

2nd November 2004, 09:55 AM
Hi Charlotte,

Congratulations on such a good result :-) your xrays look great.

I agree with Nemesixia tho about the exercises. After my initial fusion, and also after the surgeons had told me that it wouldn't get any worse (we are talking early eighties here however!!) my spine developed another curve below the site of the original scoliosis and fusion (there was a suggestion that my pregnancy at 24 y old worsened the kyphosis).

If I had known then what I know now, I would have had it monitored more closely!! I now do gentle exercises recommmended to me by a physiotherapist. I am positive that these help me maintain better posture and improve the muscle in my back.

Anne :-)

2nd November 2004, 11:26 AM
Originally posted by nemesixia@Nov 1 2004, 11:00 PM
Sorry I didn't introduce myself yet.
I have thoracic idiopathic scoliosis myself, but I didn't have surgery so far. I think the methods are advancing so very rapidly that the best thing for me to do is wait- at least as long as I can afford it... I don't have any severe symptoms so far.

oh anoter newbie....im so sorry i didnt notice you there!
:welcome2: im glad you have cometo join the SSO family, its pretty cool here, everyone is so lovely and supportive!
Like you I have idiopathic scolioisis, with a curve in both the thoracic and lumbar regions, of 80 degrees each, I am waiting on surgery nect year.
When were you diagnosed with scoliosis? Thats great your not having many symptoms, its good in some ways, cos you have no pain, but then you may not no you have it!
If you'd like I have a website that you could look at, it has a more detailed story on my scoli.... http://abbi1986.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk

Great to "meet" you.

2nd November 2004, 01:43 PM
Hi Charlotte

Those xrays are great - what a fab success story. Glad to hear you had a good appointment too and got all your questions answered.

One thing you said that I picked up on, about single curves and more rotation. Do you get more rotation with single curves than double ones? Erin only has a single curve but has a huge amount (i think) of rotation, giving her a large rib hump. Is that what you mean?


PS Welcome to all newbies.

6th November 2004, 03:21 PM
Great xrays. Those screws remind me of our woodworking class back in high school.
Andrea I have [doctor's quote] 'massive rotation' and two curves - I don't believe the curve number/rotation thing is related.
However single curves usually look worse cosmetically than double ones because there's no balancing effect.

7th November 2004, 02:00 AM
Yup! I only had a single 52 degree curve at the time of my surgery, but it was far easier to notice than my best friend's little sister in law's back, which had two curves both in the mid to upper 60's. It just makes the torso SO out of balance..

7th November 2004, 11:50 AM
Unfortunately, that first xray was taken quite a while before my surgery (about a year in advance), when my curve was measuring around 50 degrees. The xray that I had taken just before surgery showed more deterioration, and I think the final degrees were 56-60 degrees. Having just the one curve really did make my rib hump extremely prominent, even when standing "straight". I remember lying on my back as flat as I possibly could and looking at my rib cage (I don't have much of a chest, so this was pretty easy to do). Whereas most people will be able to see a level plain, the right hand side of my rib cage was very much lower than the left. Not only did I have to worry about my back and trying to mask the rib hump, I also had to worry about making the front of my ribcage look vaguely normal. This meant no tight tops and a padded bra on one side. It was absolutely awful.

8th November 2004, 03:17 AM
Lovely pics! I haven't actually gotten a good look at mine; it's very strange seeing xrays of my spine with gobs of metal attached to it. The curve that they corrected on my spine came down from 54 to 27 degrees. I don't know about the upper one, which appears to still be adjusting.