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Thread: Introduction and Questions

  1. #1
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    Jul 2014
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    Post Introduction and Questions

    Hey, everybody. My name is Prince, and I am a 21 year old living the Southwest portion of the States. I underwent spinal fusion (T4-L3, I think) for my scoliosis less than three weeks ago. Good news is that I have been off my prescribed narcotics entirely, Valium and Percocet, for about a week. I have always maintained an active lifestyle (e.g., lifting and running), and have been elated since hitting the two week post op mark as I am permitted to walk up to a mile.

    My upper torso has rotated since surgery, and I have a slight "winged scapula." From my research, I have learned that this is simply due to the spine trying to "settle in," and that walking helps out with this process a lot. How long does this process take and will performing any exercise (at my surgeon's discretion) aid in quickening this process?

    Also, is PT required for everyone?

    Another thing, did anyone notice any increased tugging on the spine when raising on arm versus the other? When I attempt to raise my right arm above shoulder-level I feel this tugging, however it is not painful. Could continued actions that cause this tugging result in my spine not healing properly?

    Grateful for this community, and I hope to learn and contribute!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Introduction and Questions

    Hello and welcome Prince!
    Thats a pretty big fusion you had. But Its great to hear that your doing well already. But the torso rotation is normal, even when unfused, as you spine twists. But as you say, its nothing to worry about as the spine does settle after the op, but it can take anything up to a year to stop, but its generally 3 months or so if I remember ccorrectly. PT isn't usually required by everyone, only those who feel like they need extra help from what they had during their stay in hospital. The tugging will stay with you for a few weeks more while the swelling goes down, it will still be there, but you won't notice it as much. I think it is also due to the muscles moving back to where they are, but not sure. I don't think it will as if it did, noone would ever fuse,l.

    Hope this helps

    Jay
    Diagnosed at 14 in '08 with Neuromuscular Kyposcoliosis (due to my Neurofibromatosis Type 1) in the Thoraco-lumber region (T-65* L60*).
    Halo traction for a week then I had surgery 08/05/14, fused C5-T12 correcting curves by about half! By the wonderful and amazing, Mr Bernard. And then an Anterior Iliac Strut graft in my neck/ chest on the 05/06/14

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Introduction and Questions

    Thanks for the reply. Yeah, not too worried right now. Is it normal to be walking at a slight angle? Think this could be due to muscle normality prior to surgery or simply just get my body getting used to the its new structure.

  4. #4
    tonibunny's Avatar
    tonibunny is offline T Sr: Admin, Big Sister and Da Police!
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    Default Re: Introduction and Questions

    Hi Prince! Welcome to SSO

    You are doing amazingly well for soneone who is just two weeks post op! Please don't push yourself too hard - it is VERY early days. Walk as much as you feel is enjoyable, but don't push it.

    Your body will feel odd for a while as it adjusts to the new position of your spine. Winged scapulae are common post-op; this is often due to weakened muscles and very often can be sorted out as you get stronger - physio can help but it is probably too early to think about physio yet. Most people aren't cleared to have physio for a month or two following surgery. Not everyone needs physio, I didn't have any once I left hospital following any of my fusion surgeries (I've had three over the years). Please note that some people will always have a winged scapula, depending on whether their shoulder blade sits directly over the apex of their thoracic curve - mine does.

    That tugging sensation is normal - they've cut through various muscles, which will have weakened them, and scar tissue has formed. Move your arms as much as feels comfortable to stretch things out, but again don't push it. Standing in front of a wall and walking your hands up and down it can help (don't bend down though, only walk down as far as your waist).

    Hope this helps! Welcome again

    Toni xx
    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.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Introduction and Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by MahAmbition View Post
    Thanks for the reply. Yeah, not too worried right now. Is it normal to be walking at a slight angle? Think this could be due to muscle normality prior to surgery or simply just get my body getting used to the its new structure.
    I do walk at a slight angle, this is due to the curving of the spine again, and something you can sort out with time and or pysio. but it could also be due to the muscles as you say. but not 100% sure.
    Diagnosed at 14 in '08 with Neuromuscular Kyposcoliosis (due to my Neurofibromatosis Type 1) in the Thoraco-lumber region (T-65* L60*).
    Halo traction for a week then I had surgery 08/05/14, fused C5-T12 correcting curves by about half! By the wonderful and amazing, Mr Bernard. And then an Anterior Iliac Strut graft in my neck/ chest on the 05/06/14

  6. #6
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    Sep 2012
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    Default Re: Introduction and Questions

    Hi, I walk leaning forward and leaning to the left, I'm 11 weeks post-op and I am now having physio and hydro therapy to try to shorten muscles on one side and lengthen them on the other - my body has spent 44 years being wonky - they said it could take up to a year to rectify. You are much younger and fitter than me so hopefully your healing will be quicker than mine is projected to be. You are doing amazing for 2 weeks post-op
    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.

  7. #7
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    Jul 2014
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    Default Re: Introduction and Questions

    Looking forward to getting these steri-strips off. Any recommendations? Thinking about just wetting the strips when showering, then peeling them off afterwards. I'm sure the wound has closed completely.

  8. #8
    tonibunny's Avatar
    tonibunny is offline T Sr: Admin, Big Sister and Da Police!
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    Default Re: Introduction and Questions

    The steri-strips should fall off naturally with showering anyway. I know they are a pain but it's probably best to wait for them to come away on their own. Three weeks post-op is still very early days, and you don't want to risk opening any wounds on the skin that could introduce infection. Just let them get wet and allow them to peel naturally - you can then tug them gently away after a while but don't go properly pulling them off or anything!
    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.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Sheffield, UK
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    Default Re: Introduction and Questions

    Hi Prince, just wanted to say
    Me, a Mod? Nah ... I'll always be a rocker

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Reno, Nevada USA
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    Default Re: Introduction and Questions

    Prince

    Welcome to the forum!

    Walking is our therapy.....Short walks a few times during the day....no marathons, you will only injure your soft tissues and set yourself back. Sipping water is also a good thing. I know it might sound boring, but itís important.

    Iím up in Reno.....are you down in Arizona?

    Ed

    55 yr old male
    T70 L70 double trouble
    A/P T2-Pelvis BMP Jan 2008

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Default Re: Introduction and Questions

    Thanks for the welcomes. Yeah, you guessed right, Ed! On the outskirts of Phoenix toward Scottsdale. Attend UA down in Tucson during fall/spring as an undergrad. Looking at med school. Don't have to tell me twice about water in this heat lol.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Reno, Nevada USA
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    Default Re: Introduction and Questions

    Ahhh....I see. My god daughter became a doctor last year....

    With all the medical science, all the technology, all the knowledge, one thing they donít know is that paying her way through med school almost killed me.

    Congratulations on your surgery!

    Hang in there...things will get better.

    Ed

    55 yr old male
    T70 L70 double trouble
    A/P T2-Pelvis BMP Jan 2008

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