Upcoming Surgery, so many questions
Hello all! I've been lurching on this site for days, finally just had my account validated so now I can post. I am so happy I found you guys!
I am a 30 year old female, and like most here I've suffered with scoliosis for nearly 20 years, with back and neck pain so sharp I couldn't breathe or even move. I've tried for years to overcome my horrible self image because I've always felt like a twisted hunchback.
About 20 years ago my older sister had a 70 degree double curve at the age of 12 and had spinal fusion surgery but at the time I only had a 30 degree curve, so my mother didn't really worry about me. But the curve progressed, it's now at 50 degrees and the pain is worse everyday. Luckily, I'll have spinal fusion surgery in a few months. The day the doctor told me it was necessary and that he was going to perform the surgery was the happiest day of my life. I've wanted this for so long, I just didn't know that they performed surgery on someone my age. I thought it was just for kids, whose bodies were still growing.
So that's my bio, but I have so many questions. My surgeon mentioned several things that I don't quite understand and was hoping someone here might have some experience with it. He said my bones are more rigid than a 13 year old so my curve may not be able to be corrected as much. I was confused because I have seen xrays of people 20-30 years older than me with curves worse than mine and after the surgery they seemed very straight. I know that everyone is different, I was just wondering if anyone else had heard the same thing from their doctors. I do know that he said I will need a lot of levels fused, maybe something like T2-L4 or the other way around (I should have been taking notes, huh?). I'm trying to find a way to show my xrays.
He also said there was a procedure he could do before the spinal fusion that could, I don't know, this is the part I didn't understand, loosen my bones up? I want to say he mentioned sticking a needle in my side to do this. I've since been on the web looking for what it could be and it might be a thoracic release or it could be that he intends to do an anterior-posterior fusion. Has anyone ever had anything like this done for similar reasons, for stiff bones. What was it like? Was it done on the same day as your surgery? Was it painful? Is there an additional scar?
And my other main question is about the thoracoplasty. I have a pronounced rib hump (that I hate) and the doc said he may perform one if he thinks I won't be happy with the results from the fusion only. Most people seem to say that this procedure is hell to recover from. What are your experiences? Can only children get great results from spinal fusion only, without a thoracoplasty? Does it increase recovery time?
I'm a professional photographer and I've only got a short window of time to recover from surgery between photo shoots that I'm already committed to. I don't know how I will mentally survive 3-4 months without picking up my camera but I'm looking forward to this surgery and finally having some relief of back pain. Thank you for any feedback!