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Thread: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

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    tonibunny's Avatar
    tonibunny is offline T Sr: Admin, Big Sister and Da Police!
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    Smile Things you CAN do with a fused spine

    Hi everyone,

    Very often, we have people coming to SSO who are worried that their life will be terribly limited after they've had a spinal fusion. I know we have a lot of very fit and active people here on the forum, so I thought I'd start this thread to show what people CAN do despite having fused spines Please join in if you'd like to! All info is optional, so it doesn't matter if you don't want to put your age or if you don't know the sort of metalwork you have. Also, please don't use this thread to post what you cannot do; this thread is to focus solely on what you can do.

    I'll start!

    My age: 34
    My fusion length: T1-L4
    My instrumentation: Harrington Rod T1-L3, Zielke L1-L3, Pedicle screws L3-L4
    Things I enjoy doing: long distance cycle rides, climbing mountains, scrambling around under hedges and climbing over gates and stiles looking for geocaches. In my early 20s I went clubbing three times a week. I can also do sit-ups despite my long fusion - you tend to pull using your abdominal muscles rather than bending your back, which is better for you anyway, and it helps if you use a decline bench.
    Last edited by tonibunny; 7th May 2014 at 12:54 AM. Reason: To add info about sit-ups!
    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.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

    I'm quite limited in what I can do now, but that's not really to do with the fact I've got a fusion - when I eventually get as far as a revision surgery which fuses me to the sacrum, I expect to be back to being considerably more active and able again.

    My original surgery was:
    Fusion length: T10-L2
    Instrumentation: anterior rod T12-L2, Hartshill rectangle T10-L2

    After recovering from this, I used to routinely walk up to 100 miles per week (and yes, I do mean 100!), clambered all over cliffs and up hills and over rock formations round Cornwall, and took up body building. I also played quite a bit of badminton when I had the chance.

    After my revision surgery which helped to re-balance my spine (due to an imbalance which does not occur with modern surgeries done by properly trained specialists), I was able to return to body building for a while. I've got issues now, but that's still stuff related to the original surgery which was done by a non-specialist rather than being related to being fused in general.
    Diagnosed at 15 with 50 curve, but probably juvenile IS. Fused in kyphosis (by non-specialised ortho) with a/p surgery T10-L2 @ 21, posterior only revision surgery to correct kyphosis @ 29. Now 38 with further revision surgery and extension of fusion to sacrum required to correct residual kyphosis, restore lordosis and address spinal stenosis.

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    Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

    2 years post surgery I am finally getting a life back.


    My fusion length: T5 - T11
    My instrumentation: 2 stainless steel rods 7 inches long, 3 hooks, and 9 pedicle screws.

    I am doing, hiking, pleasure horseback riding, competing horseback riding (barrel racing, reining/cutting). Swimming (laps... latest time was 18 seconds for one long lap!) I do all kinds of stuff.. pretty much like normal.
    Dx '06 adolescent idiopathic kyphoscoliosis T6-T11 upper 40 deg T12-L4 low 35 deg. TLSO brace for 18 mo. surgery '08 upper 28 deg. low 31deg. Had lamenectomy with decompression done 6/5/13 on L4,
    L5, S1. Also have
    osteoarthritisis, spinal stenosis, and DDD all in lumbar spine...

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    Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

    fusion length: T11-L3
    instrumentation: synergy i think? not sure to be honest.
    age: almost 23, had surgery aged 18

    activities: horse riding (including jumping), swimming, skiing (went for the first time 18 months after surgery) and my job/lifestyle dictates that i have to be on my feet for 12+ hours at a time, doing all sorts of lifting and stand-building because i'm an event manager. i do fun stuff sometimes too
    Diagnosed in March 2001 by family GP after my mum noticed an asymmetry in my spine. Referred to a consultant at the RNOH, Stanmore and started attending consultations for x-rays twice a year. Prescribed a TLSO brace to be worn 16 hours per day. Began with double major curves at approx 48 degrees. Offered surgery in 2003 aged 16 and declined to continue with school. Requested surgery in 2005 instead. Had T11-L3 fused on 16th July 2005 and haven't looked back! Released for all activities in March 2006, having been driving and riding horses with consultant's permission since 7 weeks post op.

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    Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

    Age 39

    Posterior / anterior release for Scueremanns kyphosis

    Operated on at the age of 39, now 3 months post op (just over)

    Fused T1 to L4 2 titanium rods, don't know how may pedicle screws but i think its a lot

    Things i am now doing - Taking the dog out for a walk, driving, shopping, itching to get back into the mountains cause i miss my walking in the mountains
    Latitude: 54 57' 34" N Longitude: 1 25' 16" W


    Mark's a groovin an a movin

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    Cool Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

    Age: 15
    Fused: T5-L1

    Activities: There are plenty of things i like doing, erm.. swimming, dancing, walking, bit of gymnastics, shopping - dragging mum round the shops basically back to normal
    i'm 19 years old.
    had surgery at the QMC in 10th Nov08. fused from T5-L1.
    best decision i've ever made.

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    Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

    YES! I KNEW it! They all tell me I will never get back on a horse. My back is just too bad. What if you fall off... etc. I am a very determined person. One of those people that when I get something in my head, I don't take no for an answer. I know , just to be on the "safe side", that I can also get an inflatable vest, just in case I do fall. I want to get back to riding more than anything. Of course, I understand your back may not be the the same as mine, but you have given me hope. Thank you!

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    tonibunny's Avatar
    tonibunny is offline T Sr: Admin, Big Sister and Da Police!
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    Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

    Hi RForbes! Welcome to SSO

    Good luck with getting back on your horse! DO be careful, but please be encouraged - we have had quite a few keen horse riders here over the years
    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: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

    you can take part in a dance show!
    i'm performing at the Guild Hall Theatre in Derby tonight and tomorrow night with my dance school!
    we're doing a show called 'west end to broadway'
    sooooo excited!
    i'm 19 years old.
    had surgery at the QMC in 10th Nov08. fused from T5-L1.
    best decision i've ever made.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

    Quote Originally Posted by tonibunny View Post
    Hi everyone,

    Very often, we have people coming to SSO who are worried that their life will be terribly limited after they've had a spinal fusion. I know we have a lot of very fit and active people here on the forum, so I thought I'd start this thread to show what people CAN do despite having fused spines Please join in if you'd like to! All info is optional, so it doesn't matter if you don't want to put your age or if you don't know the sort of metalwork you have.

    I'll start!

    My age: 34
    My fusion length: T1-L4
    My instrumentation: Harrington Rod T1-L3, Zielke L1-L3, Pedicle screws L3-L4
    Things I enjoy doing: long distance cycle rides, climbing mountains, scrambling around under hedges and climbing over gates and stiles looking for geocaches. In my early 20s I went clubbing three times a week. I can also do sit-ups despite my long fusion - you tend to pull using your abdominal muscles rather than bending your back, which is better for you anyway, and it helps if you use a decline bench.
    Hi,

    I like this Idea, I havent had the sergury and hopefully wont....I just really would like to know more about what you can do with the rod.

    About me
    -40 degree curve
    -Wearing boston brace
    -Samantha

  11. #11
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    Smile Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

    My age: almost 25
    Spine fused at 17 with 2 rods on part of my Thoracic spine.

    Can do:
    A lot... swim, dance, skate, cycle, play badminton.
    To be honest I don't do them as much as I used to before my spine got fused, but getting fused wasn't the reason... aging naturally made me lazier

    Can't do:
    Lift heavy things. On the rare occasions I have to, I use one of my legs to help my arms support the weight.

    Did after op, but never did before op:
    Being intimate (And I didn't start until I was 21). Before op and shortly after op, I have always felt funny about my body (therefore unwilling to go into relationships). But a few years after my back got corrected, I felt sexier and more confident than ever before.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

    My age: 18
    My fusion length: T4-L2
    My instrumentation: fugey rods hooks Pedicle screws
    right now i can swim, read, bike, walk
    Kara
    22 years old
    Spinal Fusion March 10 2010
    Foot Surgery November 25 2014

  13. #13
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    Question Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

    Can anyone tell me if a fused spine is a must for scoliosis surgery? Its been a while (13 years) since I saw my consultant, but I don't remember him mentioning fusion though he did talk about the rods. Is it just assumed that you need fusion with the rods? Thanks in advance.

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    Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

    Quote Originally Posted by tashi View Post
    Can anyone tell me if a fused spine is a must for scoliosis surgery? Its been a while (13 years) since I saw my consultant, but I don't remember him mentioning fusion though he did talk about the rods. Is it just assumed that you need fusion with the rods? Thanks in advance.
    Hi Tashi,
    The surgeon uses the rods to hold your spine straight.The fushion is the bone taken either from your hip or as in my case my ribs and crushed down.
    This is then put in around the spine and in time this crushed down bone fuses the vertabrae's so the spine stays straight.

    Hope this is okay, somebody else may be able to explain it in my detail.
    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

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

    Hi Tashi,

    Sarah's right, the rods are put in to stabilise the spine while the bone graft forms a solid fusion of the vertebrae involved - this process usually takes 6-12 months. After fusion has taken place, the rods aren't strictly needed any more but they're normally left in place for life unless a problem with them occurs, like infection, a rod breaking or screws causing pain. So, there isn't really any surgical way of correcting scoliosis without a fusion.

    Hope this helps
    I'm Sally, 31, and I have congenital kyphoscoliosis in association with Spina Bifida, Diastematomyelia and tethered cord. Surgery to detether spinal cord and remove bone spur at Addenbrooke's in 1984 aged 3. Developed 'pes cavus' and weakness in legs, various foot surgeries between '92 and '94. Decompression of spinal cord, hemivertebrectomy and fusion L2-L4 with instrumentation by Mr Crawford and Mr Laing (neurosurgeon) in 1998 aged 17. Had two stage anterior-posterior T10 to pelvis fusion surgery on 27th February 2012 at NNUH by Mr Crawford and Mr Lutchman. Fused well but now curving over top of fusion, so facing fusion extension up to T1. Trying a brace first in order to put off surgery til next year

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