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Thread: Tell me a little bit about Post-op for Scoliosis?

  1. #1
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    Default Tell me a little bit about Post-op for Scoliosis?

    Maybe post op pains for Thoracic scoliosis only..Like

    1. How bad is the pain?

    2. Do you feel the rod?

    3. Can you move?

    4. Does the hump on your back go away?

    5. Do you grow taller...i'm 6'0 so i'm wondering how tall i could grow with 47 degrees thoracic scoliosis.

    6. How long would it take before i drive>

    Feel free to add any more detail..

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tell me a little bit about Post-op for Scoliosis?

    My thoracic curve was 72 degrees at the time of surgery and I was almost 45. I was fused T2-L4 because my 30 degrees lumber curve wasnt compensatory.

    Pain for me post op hasn't gone away, its just changed. I have pressure and digging, on busy days it can get pretty bad. My surgeon said the shape of my spine ment when it was de rotated the screws were close to the surface-I have 3/4 protruding ones that could be the cause of most of my pain. Lack of fat there could be a factor too.

    Yes I do feel the rods, especially when lying down, again lack of fat and the shape of my spine causes this but the majority of people don't feel any hardware.

    Yes I can move! My movements are good, I have found a different way of 'bending' although my middle back is tight and stiff but movement isn't a problem. The back of my right hip is a bit stiff and numb but that's damage from the surgery.

    My hump has totally gone I had a costoplasty-8 ribs chopped into and now my back is beautifully flat and I love my posture

    I did grow taller initially. I was 5 foot 3 before surgeyr, afterwards I was 5 foot 4 and a half but I suspect I've 'settled' back down again.

    I did try driving at around 6 months post op but it was too painful. Its a very individual thing because it depends on the length of your fusion. Twisting is very uncomfortable but you find new ways of doing things.

    Its important to remember that there are factors that determine how you will feel post op. Age is a big factor and more importantly the amount of work and length of fusion you have had done.
    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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tell me a little bit about Post-op for Scoliosis?

    When I was close to getting my surgery, I was told that the immediate post op pain was 'unbearable'; however, you are given lots of painkillers! In fact, I barely remember any of my week in hospital or the 6 weeks recovery!
    Nowadays, I hardly ever get pain, only if I twist too extremely! And even then it's not pain, just discomfort.
    The hump on your ribs should go away if they operate on them which is always a bonus. Actually, that's one of the only things I do remember: for the first week, your ribs tend to click when you breathe haha!
    But apart from that it's just a great surgery and the pain afterwards is virtually non-existent in comparison to what a lot of people feel pre-op! x

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    Default Re: Tell me a little bit about Post-op for Scoliosis?

    Sorry to ask how old were you at surgery? Thank you for your comments

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    Default Re: Tell me a little bit about Post-op for Scoliosis?

    I'll have a go at answering your questions, but please bear in mind this is from a purely personal point of view, from someone who was 49 when they had the surgery!

    1. How bad is the pain?

    The first week in hospital was pretty dire. I didn't tolerate the morphine very well and the oral meds they moved me on to made me feel really nauseous, but thankfully it soon starts to get better once you begin to get mobile again.

    2. Do you feel the rod?

    At first it feels a bit like you have an ironing board strapped to your back! But this gets better as the swelling goes down and you become used to the rods being there, I can't feel them at all now.

    3. Can you move?

    Immediately after the op it was hard, but they got me sitting up on the edge of the bed after a couple of days and then gradually had me walking around the ward. Within a week I was going up and down stairs quite confidently.

    4. Does the hump on your back go away?

    Mine hasn't totally gone, but it is very much reduced

    5. Do you grow taller...i'm 6'0 so i'm wondering how tall i could grow with 47 degrees thoracic scoliosis.

    I regained about 1.5 inches.

    6. How long would it take before i drive.

    I have never learnt to drive so I have no personal experience of this. I think about 2-3 months is average.

    Hope this helps
    Me, a Mod? Nah ... I'll always be a rocker

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    Default Re: Tell me a little bit about Post-op for Scoliosis?

    With surgery, things are generally very tough in the immediate post-op period but most people recover well and once they are fully fused they can get in with their lives with minimal pain and disruption. It's great news that you are having a thoracic-only fusion, as we actually have little movement in our thoracic spines anyway so you probably won't notice any limitation in your ability to move.


    1. How bad is the pain?
    Immediately after surgery it can be very bad. Fortunately pain relief is usually very effective. I had my first surgeries aged 10 (thoracic only fusion) and can only remember discomfort and stiffness, not pain, from that time. I had more surgery at 18 (lumbar fusion, new rod, costoplasty) and the pain was severe then. I then had a second costoplasty at 25 and the pain was bad then too, but it got better very quickly.

    2. Do you feel the rod?
    I can feel the top of my main rod if I run my hand over the base of my neck, but that is a Harrington which is different to the modern rods that they use today. I'm not aware of any of my hardware inside me.

    3. Can you move?
    How much you can move depends on the length of your fusion. I had my entire thoracic spine fused aged ten, and once I was healed I was expected to do - and did - all sports and activities that other kids at my school did. This includes gym class, long jump, high jump, netball, hockey (was on the school team), cross country running etc etc. You won't be able to bend or twist the fused part of your spine, but as I mentioned before we have little movement in our thoracic spines anyway. I was not able to do shoulder-stands or forwards rolls in gym class, but that's about it.

    Straight after surgery you will feel very stiff, like you have a board strapped to your back. This is normal and you will recover!

    4. Does the hump on your back go away?

    Modern surgical techniques derotate the vertebrae, and as your spine is untwisted the ribs are pulled back into place, lessening the rib hump. If you have a large curve or if you have had scoliosis for a long time the ribs may have grown deformed themselves, so fusion surgery alone may not give as much cosmetic correction as you'd hope for. In cases like this your surgeon may opt to do a costoplasty, which is a procedure on the ribcage to flatten the profile of the residual hump. Most people are very pleased with the cosmetic results they get from surgery, but you must be aware that it is not possible to achieve a perfectly straight flat back.

    5. Do you grow taller...i'm 6'0 so i'm wondering how tall i could grow with 47 degrees thoracic scoliosis.

    Most people grow taller, yes! Any curve that is straightened will result in some gain in height. Every case is different, but patients quite often gain an inch or two.

    You should also be aware that your spine will "settle" a bit following the surgery so your initial height gain will decrease slightly.

    6. How long would it take before i drive?

    I'm not sure, I don't drive.
    37 years old, diagnosed with infantile idiopathic scoliosis at 6 months old with curves of 62(T) and 40(L) degrees. Casting and Milwaukee braces until surgery at 10 - ant release/pos fusion T1-T12, halo traction. Post op cast and then TLSO. Further surgery at 18 (ant release/pos fusion extended to L3 to include lumbar curve, costoplasty) and 25 (another costoplasty). Fusion extended to L4 at 33 (XLIF with 4 pedicle screws and two short rods). Pre-op curves: 76(T) and 70(L). Post-op curves: 45(T) and 35(L). Diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome aged 34; scoliosis almost certainly due to this rather than being idiopathic.

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    Default Re: Tell me a little bit about Post-op for Scoliosis?

    Quote Originally Posted by Izzattob View Post
    Sorry to ask how old were you at surgery? Thank you for your comments
    I haven't had the surgery...i'm 18

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    Default Re: Tell me a little bit about Post-op for Scoliosis?

    Hi, I'm 6 weeks post-op tomorrow, I can answer your questions on my experience so far.

    I had T2 to L4 fused. I am 44.

    1, PAIN: I had the op on a Friday so there was only a skeleton staff on the weekend, and when I got moved from High Dependency to the ward "something happened"with my case file and I was put on just a paracetamol drip....needless to say the weekend was horrifically painful and was sorted on Monday morning when my surgeon came to see me and said WTF???!!!! Then I was given appropriate meds and the pain was managed.

    At home I have had my meds adjusted twice so far - everyone reacts differently to different painkillers. And they don't want you to become addicted so they are cautious whilst prescribing. My wound is healing well, its the rest of my body that hurts as it has been wonky for so long it is adjusting to its new structure, especially around my pelvic area. But I am told it will settle down.

    2. RODS: no I can't feel them at all. I stare at my post-op x-ray and cannot believe that all that is inside me!

    3. MOVING: In hospital I had no choice - they made me get up even though I didn't want to. I was going to the loo on my own with the aid of a zimmer in hospital, and I am quite mobile now at home. I haven't been out much, but that's because I am so exhausted, you don't get much sleep in noisy hospitals, and my meds make me drowsy. I can get up and down the stairs, but I do it slowly. I have a grabber for picking things off the floor and a bath board so that I can have a shower (my shower is over the bath), and I have a rail attached to my bed to help me get in and out. Only thing I can't do on my own is put bio oil on my scar!

    4. HUMP: mine has gone!! well, structurally it has gone, I have a large soft tissue swelling at the moment where it used to be but I have been reassured that it will go away once my muscles have settled down. And my rotation has completely gone

    5. TALLER: I was told I would gain 2" but I got 1", at first I was disappointed as I am only 5 foot but at least my body faces forward! The rib rotation was so severe they had to pin each vertebra to get me straight, so I have 26 screws, and this minimised my height gain.

    6. DRIVING: I'mnot allowed to drive for 12 weeks according to my surgeon and GP.

    Hope this helps! Any questions please ask,

    Lucie
    I'm 44, I had a scoliosis: thoracic at 49 degrees, lumbar 47 with severe rib rotation. My surgery took place on 28th March 2014, I have 26 screws and 2 titanium rods.

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    Default Re: Tell me a little bit about Post-op for Scoliosis?

    I have to add that I didn't start to feel any of my hardware until I was around 6 or 8 months post op. I think it takes quite a long time for the numbness to go down.
    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

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