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Old 28th August 2008, 04:04 AM
Jave Jave is offline
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Default Kyphosis surgery for cosmetic reasons

Hi,

I'm new here and looking for some advice. I have kyphosis although not as severe as some of the pictures I've seen on here. It does cause me pain and can be very frustrating since I can never walk or stand up for long periods of time but that is not what bothers me most. I'm very uncomfortable with the cosmetic appearance of my back when seen from the side. I realize this should not be my main concern but it is and is causing me considerably more pain than the physical pain. I work out a lot and I'm in good shape which has helped with the pain but not the cosmetic appearance. It's really killing my self-confidence and I'd do anything to get it straightened but from what I've been reading, it seems only surgery can do that as I'm already too old (24) for it to be corrected by any other means.

I understand there are risks with surgery but I feel it would be worth it. Does anyone know what potential consequences it can have and what the odds of them are? Would I be able to find a doctor that would actually proceed with the option of surgery or would they all turn me down since it's mainly for cosmetic reasons?

I appreciate any input you have.
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Old 28th August 2008, 09:37 AM
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Default Re: Kyphosis surgery for cosmetic reasons

Hi jave

Welcome to sso, i am glad you have found us, yes the pyschological pain of living with kyphosis can be greater than the physical, where abouts in the world are you and have you had your curves measured at all

The first step is to get a gp referral to a orthopedic urgeon who specialises in back complaints, in the general forum there is a post at the top of the first page with surgeons listed if your country is not covered try using google and type in kyphosis surgeons in the area where you live

Its not going to be easy, a lot of surgeons won't do the work unless other health issues pose a threat like neurological compromise or issues with spinal cord that will likely lead to problems down the line so you may need to search for a while

At 24 your growth spurts have finished so bracing and physio are next useless for cosmetic gain and the risks from surgery are high, it may take as long as six months to recover and a further 6 months before you can start to train again depending on degree and complication of curve so you need to weigh that up as well

Its not an easy road to embark on but if you can find a sympathetic surgeon then your at least walking the path

mark
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Old 31st August 2008, 12:58 AM
SarahBella SarahBella is offline
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Default Re: Kyphosis surgery for cosmetic reasons

Hi Jave! I am in a similar situation to yours and I've seen two different surgeons who both told me that the slight pain I have now could get worse but there are no guarantees, and that having the surgery for me would be mainly cosmetic, with also helping relieve current and possibly future pain. They both said that they would do the surgery, and I've decided to have it done in December based on the fact that it'll improve me cosmetically and possibly prevent any future changes. Being young females we have our insecurities about our looks regardless of how confident we are, and it has taken its toll on me both mentally and physically. I'm 19 and had to endure 4 years of high school with kids calling me "hunchback" behind my back, so I know how it breaks you down. My two surgeons both actually suggested surgery since I have slight pain, a 75 degree curve and I physically hate it. I went to the two back surgeons in my area that are well known and respected in the field, so these are good opinions. I've weighed the options and risks and made my decision, so your decision to have it for cosmetic reasons is completely valid! Good luck with your decision!

-Sarah
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Old 31st August 2008, 01:51 AM
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Amazed Jean Amazed Jean is offline
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Default Re: Kyphosis surgery for cosmetic reasons

Hello and Welcome, I am the resident fossil here being 57 years old. I so get what you are saying. I'll take all the pain if I could get mine to look even semi- human again. It's not going to happen for me AND my heart and lungs are now compromised to the point that I am on full time oxygen and sleep with a bipap machine on. I am not able to walk any distance at all without resting along the way and I am looking for a new mobility device to make walks a tad easier. I still think I would take all this stuff happily if I could look normal. I will encourage you to do your research and ask a lot of questions and insist on the best care. Then by all means get your surgery scheduled and do it while you are young! We are all here to support you no matter what you decide to do. I wish you luck and I hope you will keep us posted. I am always available to PM or email if you like.
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I am 61 years old and the resident SSO fossil. I live in Oklahoma,USA with my husband Allen. We have one daughter Jae and she has three kids.Our grandkids are: Aidan is8. He's the one pictured in my current avatar. Jenna Jean is 7 and Ryan Allen is just 4 It's full time chaos here! I was diagnosed in 1965 at 14 years with Kyphoscoliosis and 2 curves measuring 68 and 63 degrees. My last measurements were in 2004 at 155, 88 and 55+ degrees. I have never had surgery or bracing so I now am on full time oxygen and use a Non Invasive Ventilator at night. at night.
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Old 14th September 2008, 01:20 AM
sally333 sally333 is offline
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Default Re: Kyphosis surgery for cosmetic reasons

Jave-
If I were in your shoe's and I didn't have that much pain at the present time and I knew my kyphosis was not a really fast progressive one there is no way that I would ever consider the surgery for cosmedic reasons. First of all I do understand why the cosmedic reason's would make you even think about the surgery but let me tell you there will also be cosmedic problems after the surgery let alone there is a whole lot of extream pain to go threw just for cosmedic reason's. My scars from just my Scheuermann's kyphosis are not somthing I would want anyone to see. I have a six inch scar ware they went threw my chest,rib-cage area. I have another 1and a half inch scar just ware the chest tube was. I have a scar at the base of my neck all the way down to ware the good lord split me,that scar is almost two feet long. I am a smaller weight to average weight person and a lot of my screws and harware stick up like large hard bumps so you can see ware all the hardware is. This is not pretty. So to me no way would I ever incourage a person to have this exstreamly painfull surgery for just cosmedic reason's. If one day your spine get's worse or if the pain gets so bad you have a hard time living a normall full filling life then yes, it would be time and good reason to have this surgery done. Please do think about this surgery a little more before going threw with it. I know I can be quit blunt but I really just want to get my point across. Sometimes surgery is not what you think it is. I am realy glad that you came and asked this question and I hope I have helped you to some degree and others thinking about this issue also. Thank you and I wish you the best.
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Old 15th September 2008, 10:36 AM
Buffalowilliam Buffalowilliam is offline
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Default Re: Kyphosis surgery for cosmetic reasons

I guess the only word of caution I would give is that if you enjoy being fit and active then you have to give someconsideration to the fact that you may not be able to be so fit and active with metal rods running down your spine! Twisting is a serious issue ... if I'm in the front seat of a car I can't turn round to talk to the people behind me, know what I mean?!

Otherwise, don't play down your concerns just because they are 'cosmetic'. My physcial pain kept me from running a marathon, my hatred of my appearance kept me from going out on a Friday night. I'd say the latter had much more of an impact on my life than the former.
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Old 2nd February 2011, 04:29 PM
Higgs Higgs is offline
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Default Re: Kyphosis surgery for cosmetic reasons

Hi

Im new here and this is my first post. I haved the same problem as Jave. I hate the way my back looks, I know its not as bad as some other peoples but its bad enough that it really affects my self esteem. Im 20 years old and its only recently started to bother me now. I had other problems on my mind when i was a teenager which is perhaps why i only noticed it now. I get back pain when i sit or stand for a while, even when i try and maintain good posture. I have spoken to my GP about it and i have had some X-Rays done and i get the results this Friday. When i spoke to my GP about it he didnt seem concerned really, in fact he said i had a kyphosis but he did not even write it up. I know this because i got so deppressed about it that i phoned up and made another appointement, this time with another doctor. I am concerned about the physical appearance but more about the pain i get. My dream is to spend my life travelling the world. But at the moment any sort of long journey or carrying a backpack is really painful.
I've spent a lot of time reasearching kyphosis and what can be done about it. Im aware that at my age surgery is the only option to "correct" my curve. I am willing to try any conservative methods to help with the pain and appearance. Has anyone here with only a mild kyphosis had good results with physio therapy? I just want to live without this constant ache in my back.
I do not know if i have Scheurmans or not yet. Is surgery more succesfull in pattients who dont have Scheurmans because the vertebre are normally shaped? Also i have looked at a lot of "before and after" photos of surgery. Is it a more complex and riskier procedure if the degree of kyphosis is large?
Im sorry to bombard everyone with questions but one last question i have is: Is correction of curvature more succesful in females than in males, as far as cosmetics are concerend? From looking at photos it kind of looks like its better in females?.

I have found a lot of posts on here really usefull and i think this is a great site.

Higgs
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Old 2nd February 2011, 10:12 PM
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Default Re: Kyphosis surgery for cosmetic reasons

Hi Higgs

I'm not much use where kyphosis is concerned I'm afraid as I have scoliosis, but just wanted to welcome you to the site while you wait for someone more knowledgeable to pop by
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Old 6th February 2011, 03:02 PM
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Default Re: Kyphosis surgery for cosmetic reasons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Higgs View Post
Hi

Im new here and this is my first post. I haved the same problem as Jave. I hate the way my back looks, I know its not as bad as some other peoples but its bad enough that it really affects my self esteem. Im 20 years old and its only recently started to bother me now. I had other problems on my mind when i was a teenager which is perhaps why i only noticed it now. I get back pain when i sit or stand for a while, even when i try and maintain good posture. I have spoken to my GP about it and i have had some X-Rays done and i get the results this Friday. When i spoke to my GP about it he didnt seem concerned really, in fact he said i had a kyphosis but he did not even write it up. I know this because i got so deppressed about it that i phoned up and made another appointement, this time with another doctor. I am concerned about the physical appearance but more about the pain i get. My dream is to spend my life travelling the world. But at the moment any sort of long journey or carrying a backpack is really painful.
I've spent a lot of time reasearching kyphosis and what can be done about it. Im aware that at my age surgery is the only option to "correct" my curve. I am willing to try any conservative methods to help with the pain and appearance. Has anyone here with only a mild kyphosis had good results with physio therapy? I just want to live without this constant ache in my back.
I do not know if i have Scheurmans or not yet. Is surgery more succesfull in pattients who dont have Scheurmans because the vertebre are normally shaped? Also i have looked at a lot of "before and after" photos of surgery. Is it a more complex and riskier procedure if the degree of kyphosis is large?
Im sorry to bombard everyone with questions but one last question i have is: Is correction of curvature more succesful in females than in males, as far as cosmetics are concerend? From looking at photos it kind of looks like its better in females?.

I have found a lot of posts on here really usefull and i think this is a great site.

Higgs
Most people want surgery for the way they look and the surgery can greatly improve the appearance. But if you are in pain after surgery for the rest of your life, will you still say 'Gee, I'm glad I don't look that bad anymore!'

I dont say this to scare you, but you should reconsider why you want the operation if you're not in pain. People who are in pain may be fixed with surgery, but maybe not. It is a risk. My doctor has operated for strictly cosmetic reasons. He says some are fine, others are not. You really don't know...if I was in your shoes, I would wait until I was in pain...which is kind of what I did. I am 22 now. Finally I think I need surgery.

Bottom line is only you can make a decision. At 20, chances are you will be fine. years down the road, your spine will probably wear down quicker than the average person. Unfortunetly that is a risk, too. Again, the severity of pain down the road depends on a lot of environmental factors. You will need to stay in shape and deal...A big issue is the lack of a good study on this. Most people who had their backs operated on and were fine melt into the woodwork..and those with issues come forward and say 'help me, didn't you fix me earlier?!' really there is no right or wrong here. it is stressful to make a decision but I guess when you know, you know....There are those who will have surgery and be fine for the rest of their lives, and we of course hope we are one of these lucky people. With no hardware and posterior only surgeries, it appears that, while the surgery itself is riskier than previously, the technology has enabled it to be done at a more consistent, uniform, way. Of course, again, there is no long term study on this. Everyone today who is getting surgery might have problems down the road..again, maybe not. Back surgery is also frowned upon, and this is usually because people who have it do not need it. Of course, scoliosis/kyphosis is an exception where it may be useful. But I am saying, the majority of people in the world with back issues is related to their lifestyle, not their backs. And they blame their own body. Spinal deformity, not always the case. What I am trying to say here is that, surgery may very well be your answer and may fix you. You might have a better posture than anyone you know now. But, than again, you might be in pain. Or you might be paralyzed. If you're perfectly straight and in a wheelchair, you need to say 'well this is better than I was' and then you know the surgery is worth the risk. Most people will be fine....but there are those who are not. it is a tough decision. At our ages, I will say that the odds are in our hands here. They say paralysis is .1-1%...that is a lot less than the chance of getting into a car accident when you are driving on a major road, etc. You will heal relatively quickly and probably be happy with the results. I say, if you cannot stand it any longer and you have tried everything, and can afford it, go for it; if you are in pain.
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Old 7th February 2011, 03:16 PM
Higgs Higgs is offline
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Default Re: Kyphosis surgery for cosmetic reasons

Thanks Dave. I know in my earlier post I mentioned that my main concern was cosmetic. I am very conscious of my back but I do realise that compared to others I, have seen my back is relatively normal. I don't recall anyone ever mentioning it in the past. I am quite muscular and my lumbar spine seems quite flexible so if I tense up my abdominals and force my shoulders and neck back its much less noticeable. However it is not easy to maintain this position and I’m not sure if I’m doing more harm than good?
I totally understand what you are saying in that surgery is a huge risk if the only benefits are cosmetic. Although I feel these days that cosmetic issues are becoming more important as are the psychological issues which come with them.
I had X-Rays taken and I spoke with my GP about them. My GP was not much help at all! I am still unclear what type of Kyphosis I have. I’m led to believe that it is structural because if I lie flat on the floor it is very uncomfortable because my thoracic spine hits the floor and doesn’t go away. This is what really bothers me, I have tried lying on the beach and it is really quite uncomfortable. I am going to see a doctor about this tomorrow for the fourth time!!! I aim to establish what type of kyphosis I have and I will ask to see a specialist J.
I have given this a lot of thought and I now think the main reason I would consider surgery would be for my overall health. I find I am often very fatigued and when I sit at my desk or in lectures I find it hard to concentrate because I am either in pain or I’m tired from the constant strain of standing tall. The most annoying thing is the rigidity of my thoracic spine. I don’t know if this sounds silly but I get the impression my body is calling out to have a straight spine. I get random aches and pains all over sometimes depending on what I do. I also have a deformity of the chest wall known as a pectus carinatum which I feel may have contributed to my kyphosis. I think the presence of the chest deformity and my kyphosis is honestly putting too much stress on my muscles which is why I feel so fatigued.

I’m sorry that was a bit of a rant lol. But I understand what you are saying and I think the cosmetic appearance of my back doesn’t warrant surgery. But I am in pain and I am very fatigued which I feel does warrant surgery. I understand the risks are great, but like you said we all run a risk just stepping out of our front doors. I think I am getting a bit ahead of myself though...having not been fully diagnosed and having not seen a specialist. It is just helpful to get as much information as possible.
I wish you the best of luck if you do decide to have surgery and I’d like to say thanks because it really helps to talk with someone who is in a similar situation

Higgs
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Old 7th February 2011, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: Kyphosis surgery for cosmetic reasons

Hi there...that is not an easy decision. As for me, I am in an even tougher situation because I have two doctors telling me different things. Dr. Boachie, who is a known worldwide and works out of the HSS in New York, took a look at me and "..I think it should be treated" was his exact quote.

On the other hand, my doctor who I've seen for 8 years or so, and mind you, is a fantastic surgeon as well, is somewhat against surgery. To make it even more confusing, my doctor in the local area also would do anterior/posterior, whereas Dr. Boachie will do this strictly posterior. I asked my doctor why, and he feels posterior only surgeries are much more risky than the combined front/back. I am not sure why, but I trust he is correct. Still, I find it rather alarming that the studies I find show the success rates for posterior only fusion to be much, much better than the comined front/back. I am not a doctor, but I did take a lot of statistic courses, and the studys do show that the complications in posterior only are actually less!

Now, one has to realize the numbers don't lie, but the study might. Who's to say that the # of people reporting for the study were actually followed up more closely, or younger, etc, etc. Thats why you should trust your doctor. But I trust both, it is just a radically different view on opinions. One says, surgery is the way to go; you will be fine. other says, it might help, it might not. honestly, in my opinion, it is the combination of the two. Somewhere there is an answer.

I wore a brace in high school which prevented me from getting worse, but you should really seek out a specialist before you jump to conclusions. There are many things that can be up with your spine!

Also, I too am pretty muscular and I feel it is not noticable but the pain is by far the biggest problem I have. Both doctors I went to say that the lower the curve is on your spine, the less it will be noticable, and the more pain you will be in. This sets up a weird paradox because now you have to remember that kids are generally not diagnosed until it is 'too late' with this. So, if the patient isn't in pain, and the curve is harder to see...by the time the patient IS in pain (like me!), it is the worst!

I wish you luck, keep me posted!

Dave
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Old 7th February 2011, 10:40 PM
Higgs Higgs is offline
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Default Re: Kyphosis surgery for cosmetic reasons

Hi
That’s annoying I guess when trying to make a decision as serious as this. Although I have read a few posts on here where surgeons have disagreed on the procedure. I haven’t got anywhere near that far yet and I’m not even sure a surgeon would even consider operating on me especially since I’m in the UK and ideally would like to get it done through the NHS.
The main concern I have with my kyphosis is that it will hold me back in life. I think I could probably come to terms with the cosmetic side, but as I mentioned earlier I’m a keen traveller and I don’t think I could do a boring office job. Have you had much chance to talk with your surgeon(s) about what limitations you may have after surgery, assuming it is successful with no complications? I do realise that there are people on this forum who really struggle to do even day to day tasks and my heart goes out to them. I have seen posts on here about what you can do with a fused spine, but I found that a lot of people who posted had had surgeries for scoliosis and where much older than us or had surgery much younger and some had complications. So far I haven’t really found anything I physically cannot do, except certain weight lifting exercises. I have always been quite active and I am hoping to have a relatively active job. The risks of surgery do worry me but what is putting me off surgery more than anything else is concern that I will be limited in what I can do after surgery long term. Is it a case of after a couple of years and the fusion is strong you can do whatever you want – say surfing/snowboarding or will I always have to “baby” my spine?
At the moment I don’t really know much about the curvature of my spine although I think the kyphosis is more towards to top of my thoracic spine. I also seem to have quite a lot of compensatory lordosis. I will find out in due time though.
I hope you manage to decide which surgeon and which procedure is right for you and good luck. Have you been set a rough date for your operation yet?
Thanks,
Higgs
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Old 8th February 2011, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: Kyphosis surgery for cosmetic reasons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Higgs View Post
Hi
That’s annoying I guess when trying to make a decision as serious as this. Although I have read a few posts on here where surgeons have disagreed on the procedure. I haven’t got anywhere near that far yet and I’m not even sure a surgeon would even consider operating on me especially since I’m in the UK and ideally would like to get it done through the NHS.
The main concern I have with my kyphosis is that it will hold me back in life. I think I could probably come to terms with the cosmetic side, but as I mentioned earlier I’m a keen traveller and I don’t think I could do a boring office job. Have you had much chance to talk with your surgeon(s) about what limitations you may have after surgery, assuming it is successful with no complications? I do realise that there are people on this forum who really struggle to do even day to day tasks and my heart goes out to them. I have seen posts on here about what you can do with a fused spine, but I found that a lot of people who posted had had surgeries for scoliosis and where much older than us or had surgery much younger and some had complications. So far I haven’t really found anything I physically cannot do, except certain weight lifting exercises. I have always been quite active and I am hoping to have a relatively active job. The risks of surgery do worry me but what is putting me off surgery more than anything else is concern that I will be limited in what I can do after surgery long term. Is it a case of after a couple of years and the fusion is strong you can do whatever you want – say surfing/snowboarding or will I always have to “baby” my spine?
At the moment I don’t really know much about the curvature of my spine although I think the kyphosis is more towards to top of my thoracic spine. I also seem to have quite a lot of compensatory lordosis. I will find out in due time though.
I hope you manage to decide which surgeon and which procedure is right for you and good luck. Have you been set a rough date for your operation yet?
Thanks,
Higgs
Both surgeons have said that post-op, assuming the surgery goes as it is planned, I will not have any restriction in flexibility; in fact one of the doctors said I might be MORE flexible, since my body (specially, the hamstrings) tend to compensate. This is one of the big reasons to do the anterior approach, because they loosen up all of that stuff to begin with. I infact am very flexible to begin with. I can put my palms of my hands to the floor while holding my knees straight...go 90 degrees backwards to a wall..etc..but this is because I have worked on it. You must work on flexibility, even if you have a perfect spine!! I got a lot of this from drum teachers (my name!). I would try to get my double bass drum (pedals) as fast as I could and I noticed that when I stretched out my legs it was MUCH easier..smoother, I had more stamina, etc....so since then I have stretched nearly every day or when I think of it..leading to very flexible legs. it is the same with a lot of things..sports, etc.many people think its all STRENGTH and huge muscles..but it is more horse muscle stuff...more about loosening and conditioning than it is building....these days I can FLY on my bass drums! it is half practice and half stretching! drums have kept me flexible! point is, do something to keep in shape

So, back to the surgery..in my guess, you will be sore/stiff for quite a bit while your body heals but in the long run you should have the normal flexibility. I asked Dr. Boachie about long term effects and he and his two fellows/residents both said something like 'you will have an old spine just like the rest of us'...meaning I am not free from issues, but nobody really is.

I like to think that if I am 40-50 years old, the techniques will be better. That is 20-30 years from now. I can get a revision then. Hopefully i'll never need one!
Hope that is some good news
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Old 8th February 2011, 11:05 AM
Higgs Higgs is offline
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Default Re: Kyphosis surgery for cosmetic reasons

Hi

Well that sounds quite encouraging if you can be as flexible as or more flexible than you are now. I am going to work much more on my flexibility now. I just got back from the doctors. I saw a different doctor this time; he’s only a GP though. I asked him to clarify which type of kyphosis I had. He examined the X-ray report and apparently I have postural kyphosis. Which is odd considering when I lay on the floor my back doesn’t flatten out??? I asked about the shape of the Vertebrae and he said they were normally shaped which is good. I’m hoping I just have a bad case of postural kyphosis, I guess only time will tell. I’m going to do physio and I’m going to have to suck up my pride and start doing Pilates lol. If I don’t see any improvement in pain or appearance I will go to a specialist. I might as well try everything I can before considering surgery.
I used to play the drums a bit when I was younger and I really enjoyed it. I kinda got a bit discouraged when the neighbours kept complaining and it’s not the same when you have to use brushes is it lol. I’m quite keen to learn guitar now though.
It must be hard making a decision on what procedure to have, be it posterior only or anterior and posterior. I guess there are more pros for anterior-posterior but I guess there are more cons as well because of greater risk of complications. My aim if I ever do have surgery would be to come out of it with the best possible outcome. By this I mean good flexibility and a stable, strong fusion and also as few limitations as possible. Even if this meant a procedure with greater risks. I have not researched complications much, so to be honest I probably don’t know what I’m talking about. I guess it’s something you need to work out with your surgeon and with yourself I guess. I’ll let you know how the physio goes and its good advice about maintaining good flexibility and health. Keep me posted on how your run up to surgery goes.
Thanks

Higgs
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