I had my surgery 3 years, 8 months ago when I was 45-I was fused T2-L4 with a thoraplasty. I wasn't 'loosened up' I had a posterior fusion on a very stiff spine and I am straight
Your surgeon is probably erring on the side of caution regarding how much correction you will have because until your on the table they don't really know. I was told there was a chance I would need the anterior release but my surgeon spent 10 hours on my stiff spine to avoid it and for that I'm truly grateful. The effects of a thoraplasty are amazing, I had mine done at the same time so I'm not really sure how painful it was because everything was hurting but the ribs do heal pretty quick and I've heard that the immediate severe pain is pretty short lived. I get a little tenderness there and I have some ongoing pain from protruding metalwork but it was worth it and I'd do it again because its great having a straight strong feeling back
Its a very tough surgery to go through and its important to have a positive state of mind as its a very up and down recovery for an adult. Going back to work times can vary a lot, unfortunately its not something you can put a date on because you don't really know how you will feel.
If you have anymore questions just ask away.
Thoracic 72 degrees, lumber 30 degrees-fused aged 44, T2-L4, posterior fusion with costoplasty (8 ribs were chopped) on 3/11/10 under the care of Mr Ahmed at North Staffs Hospital. Now nice and straight