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View Full Version : 1st post-Kyphosis, Need Opinions


Bck90
5th February 2009, 01:46 AM
Hello everyone, my first post on S.S. I am looking for some opinions as to what I should. First of all I am 19 and was diagnosed with Schuermann's around the age 16-17, they recommended physical therapy and I did that for half a year. Well it has been a while since then and it definitely has gotten worse, I have a few questions that hopefully someone can answer. (And I would ask a doctor but I have no insurance :()
1. I do not know the degree of my curve I would guess around 40-50(starts around the middle of my back). I have read into surgery as a solution for kyphosis, I have minor pain when trying to "pretend" to be normal all day. The thing that bothers me the most is my head, it is almost in a permanent forward position. Would surgery fix my the position of my head as well as my back?
2. I have also read that they sometimes take bone pieces from your thigh,etc... Does this always happen or is this just in rare cases?
3. If you have had the surgery, do you regret it at all? At this moment I would jump at a chance to get the surgery, I find it hard to socialize and be normal at this time and I cant imagine myself living my whole life telling myself, "What if?"..... Has anyone had the surgery and wish he/she had never done it?

Thanks in advance, I hope someone can help me understand what lies in my future regarding this condition...

titch
5th February 2009, 09:37 AM
Normal kyphosis is considered to lie within the range of 20 to 40 degrees. As far as I know, surgery is not given as an option on curvatures below 60 degrees, and many surgeons will not operate until the curvature is at least 70 degrees or even larger.

It's actually very difficult to estimate the size of a curvature though, as even people without curvature may develop forward head carriage, and appear to have kyphosis when they actually do not. Equally, kyphosis may cause you to appear to have a forward head carriage, when actually it is not (or at least not in a primary sense). It is possible, depending on a whole load of factors, that targetted physio, or something like the Alexander Technique, would allow you to reduce the forward carriage of your head. Physical exercises cannot reduce the underlying curvature in Scheuermann's, because it is caused by a change in the shape of some of the vertebrae which will not be altered by any exercise, but it is possible to reduce the postural aspects of the curvature in *some* cases. Regarding surgery, it's a bit of a hard one. It depends on a lot of factors, such as the position and length of the fusion, how much correction is achieved, the severity of the imbalance, and whether once the fusion is settled further kyphosis occurs above the fused area. Basically it's likely to help, but how much is an unknown quantity (although again, it should be possible to have physio to help with it - I tend to have forward head carriage myself, secondary to flatback rather than kyphosis, and certainly it is something that I can aid somewhat with exercise as it is postural rather than fixed)

It's very unlikely that surgery would require taking bone from your leg. Leg bone was taken for graft in the past in some cases, but these days they most often use the bone which is removed from the spine (as part of the process they remove the spinous processes - the nobbly bits that can be seen when you bend forward - and other bits such as the facet joints as these are no longer needed once fusion is done) and this can then be combined with donor bone, or artificial grafting materials. If further bone is needed, then in scoliosis surgeries this is often taken from ribs as there can be reasons to remove either a single rib or small parts of several ribs, however I don't think rib bone tends to be used in kyphosis surgeries. What can be done for any spine surgery though is to take some rib from the top of the pelvis, so this would be the most likely place if they needed additional bone from you for some reason.

I think the single most important thing you can do for yourself, if you get as far as surgery, is to ensure that it is done by a proper specialist, who is specifically a spinal deformity specialist. A general spine guy is unlikely to have the experience necessary to get a good result. It was having my original surgery done by a non-specialist which has caused me the problems I now have. I don't wish that I hadn't had the surgery, what I wish is that it had been done by a specialist - it wouldn't have guaranteed me a good outcome, but certainly I wouldn't have had the particular problems that I did.

Hope that helps a bit - it seems a bit grim reading it back, which is not my intention. In any case, :welcome2: I'm glad that you've found us, and we'll be here for you on your journey with this :)

GillyG
5th February 2009, 10:41 AM
Hi there, I don't have any further words of wisdom but just wanted to welcome you to the site :tiphat:

Bck90
5th February 2009, 02:52 PM
Normal kyphosis is considered to lie within the range of 20 to 40 degrees. As far as I know, surgery is not given as an option on curvatures below 60 degrees, and many surgeons will not operate until the curvature is at least 70 degrees or even larger.

Thanks for the responses
Im wondering has anyone here had a small curve yet still received surgery? Because I experience pain when I try to keep my head back, I just want a chance to be a bit more normal(maybe even wear a tight shirt once in my lifetime lol) Im going to post a pic, since you have seen many curves maybe you can guess what I fall under?...
http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k110/bryan2888/SANY0675-1.jpg

sally333
9th February 2009, 03:33 PM
Hi bCK
Just thought I would let you know that I think your back looks pretty good, hope this makes you happy as no one would want this surgery if they didn't really need it. If like you say your back has a curve of 40 then it is pretty much on the normall side and by the photo it looks pretty normall. I did have the surgery a posterior and anterior from T2 to L2. My spine was at a 110 or more degree curve. It is now at about 53. My back after the surgery is still more curved then yours in the picture. Good luck with what ever options your doctor has to give you and what ever you decide is best for yourself,but again your back looks great to me. Hope this gives you some relief.

Bck90
9th February 2009, 10:34 PM
Hi bCK
Just thought I would let you know that I think your back looks pretty good, hope this makes you happy as no one would want this surgery if they didn't really need it. If like you say your back has a curve of 40 then it is pretty much on the normall side and by the photo it looks pretty normall. I did have the surgery a posterior and anterior from T2 to L2. My spine was at a 110 or more degree curve. It is now at about 53. My back after the surgery is still more curved then yours in the picture. Good luck with what ever options your doctor has to give you and what ever you decide is best for yourself,but again your back looks great to me. Hope this gives you some relief.

Ok thank you ! I wanted to know but have never met anyone else affected with kyphosis, I thought my curve was worse than it seems. Okay so I guess surgery will not be allowed ...so Im going to try other means.

sally333
10th February 2009, 03:47 PM
Ok thank you ! I wanted to know but have never met anyone else affected with kyphosis, I thought my curve was worse than it seems. Okay so I guess surgery will not be allowed ...so Im going to try other means.

Bck90-Please don't take my earlier post the wrong way as I am not a doctor. You should most likely see a spinal doctor and have your curve measured as one really can't just go by the photo's. Also if you were to have scheuermann's kyphosis then there is a good chance that your kyphosis would be progressive as mine was. With a kyphosis that would be progressive then surgery would be a good idea it's just that the surgery is not easy. I actually wish I had been seen by a doctor before my kyphosis hit the 110 degree mark as the surgery could have been done sooner and it would not have been as bad as it was. good luck.
Sally