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Old 30th November 2009, 09:04 PM
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Default Risks of surgery

Hi everyone! I am meeting with my doctor in January and am going to discuss future options for my back. I have sheuermanns around 60-70 degrees, so nothing horrific (by our standards here..I think recently corrected Mark was like 110..) but anyway enough to cause discomfort and pain.

I realize surgery is a last resort. It is almost rarely done for cosmetic aspects alone, and if it is, it is very severely affecting the patient. I am concerned with how I look a bit, but the pain is pretty obnoxious as well. How did you guys who went under the knife decide it was time?? I have been doing physio for months, and it DOES help; however, it can only do so much. My curve is RIGHT on the border of 'not-recommended/recommended surgery'. But than again, my doctor has said if I don't have lots of pain, surgery should not be considered an appropriate option; i.e., if you are trying to get surgery for cosmetic (appearance) reasons only, it is not a good idea. Kyphosis surgery is intense and the recovery time is extreme.

Having said all of this, many people have experienced great benefit from surgery. What a complex problem I have here...

Like my mother says, surgery has many risks. With any back surgery comes even more risk of messing things up. the first thought is spinal cord/nerve damage and all it's associated symptoms. Paralysis, loss of feeling, leg pain, sexual dysfunction, muscle fatigue, weakness, tingling, etc, etc etc,etc. Those are probably the most devistating of complications. having said THAT, they are also among the rarest. I feel that a MUCH more appropriate concern for modern back surgery is just failure of the surgery; the fact that while the cosmetic appearance may improve, the surgery won't make the pain better. In fact, it can make the pain worse. My doctor has told me this to my face. there is no guarantee that surgery can help pain. There are a number of other risks, too. Failure of fusions, infections, hardware failure, surgeon error, arthritis, etc,e tc, etc AAHH!!!!

So, as you can see, there are many risks. OF COURSE, there are MANY benefits assuming you can get through recovery. I could sit in normal chairs, ideally be out of fatiguing back pain, be taller, have a better appearance.....


what's your opinion? and to you, what was your biggest risk concern? I need some other voices, just to read..thanks!!!!


DD
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  #2  
Old 30th November 2009, 09:30 PM
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Lucy7 Lucy7 is offline
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Default Re: Risks of surgery

Dave my words carry little credibility as I do not have kyphosis and, as far as scoliosis is concerened, I am not a candidate for surgery. But for my 2 cents worth, I think you need to really look at the level of pain you are in. I am sure the doctor must have asked you what it is on a scale from 1-10. Do you want to try a pain clinic, for example, see how that goes for a little while and then revisit the idea or surgery?

To me, pain level and standard of living would be huge factors in my decision process.

I know others will post far more useful comments Dave but I just want to wish you the very best of luck with your decision.
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Old 30th November 2009, 11:17 PM
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Default Re: Risks of surgery

Hi Dave,

I'm really sorry to hear your pain has got this bad I think it would be worth investigating other nonsurgical techniques though, even if physio is no longer helping.

Here in the UK we have specialised "Pain Clinics" which we can get referred to in order to try out various pain management techniques. These clinics are usually staffed by specialist doctors who have more in-depth knowledge about pain management than ordinary doctors. Do you know if there is anything like this available where you are? I attended a Pain Clinic a couple of years back and tried various things, and some were very very helpful - in particular, I had steroid nerve-blocking injections and was prescribed a painkiller specifically for neurological pain, which made a huge difference to my quality of life.

The amount of pain you're getting might be unusual - have you had this fully investigated, with scans etc?

Keep your chin up - I'm sure there are still tons of things you could try before considering surgery if you are keen to avoid it - we'll do our best to help you find something.

Toni xx
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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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Old 30th November 2009, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: Risks of surgery

Dave,

My scoliosis specialist sent me to my local pain clinic (see below). I have pasted the link because I am sure there are similar pain clinics close to you and I thought you might want to research some of the options.

http://www.treatingpain.com/diagnosi...reatments.html
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Old 30th November 2009, 11:28 PM
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Default Re: Risks of surgery

Thanks guys, i will take a look. The pain isnt too bad. I don't think it is enough to warrant surgery. I just dont want it to get worse. I worry too much!
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Old 1st December 2009, 05:20 AM
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Default Re: Risks of surgery

Hey there...

Yes, biggest risk for me pre-op was something going wrong during the op.

Post-op it's the small risk that it doesn't fuse.

I think you should at least look at it as an option, but your doctor and your summary is right. There is a risk and it may make your pain worse. The jury's still out on that for me, but overall I am stoked I had it done. The pain overall is less, and I do feel more confident..
although you are right 60-70 degrees is less noticeable than the more extreme curves so maybe cosmetically it's not much of a factor at all.
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Old 1st December 2009, 10:25 PM
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DaveDrummer DaveDrummer is offline
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Default Re: Risks of surgery

hey Jonno what was your curve pre-op?
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Old 4th December 2009, 10:06 AM
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Default Re: Risks of surgery

90-91 pre... 37-40 post.
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Old 6th December 2009, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: Risks of surgery

How are you doing these days? I would imagine u r still recovering quite a bit?
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Old 6th December 2009, 10:23 PM
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Default Re: Risks of surgery

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonno View Post
90-91 pre... 37-40 post.
One hell of a correction mate where you fused to sorry i forget
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Old 7th December 2009, 08:03 AM
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Default Re: Risks of surgery

Hah. I have no idea. I kinda like it that way too (having medical ignorance of my procedure afterwards). I'm doing ok. Right shoulder is a pain in ass still but could be much worse... plus used it as an excuse to come home from work early cos I was on the verge of throwing my toys out of the cot with someone who's a nightmare to work with.

Great to see you're back on planet earth mark!!! Very cool. So how is it? You taken pics of yourself yet?? The dream hallucinations are pretty cool huh?
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