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  #1  
Old 2nd March 2010, 12:44 PM
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tonibunny tonibunny is offline
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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.
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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.

Last edited by tonibunny; 6th May 2014 at 11:54 PM. Reason: To add info about sit-ups!
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  #2  
Old 2nd March 2010, 01:20 PM
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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.
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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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  #3  
Old 2nd March 2010, 03:37 PM
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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.
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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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  #4  
Old 2nd March 2010, 03:52 PM
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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
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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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Old 2nd March 2010, 03:59 PM
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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
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  #6  
Old 2nd March 2010, 05:38 PM
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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
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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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  #7  
Old 3rd March 2010, 08:22 PM
461992 461992 is offline
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Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

Age: 15
Fused: T3-L5, 1 year 2 months post op

Well, I can paint my toe-nails! Very important! I can shop, walk, swim. I can't really run, I was always slow though!
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Fiona, 16, Irish.
C shaped curve of around 80 degrees corrected on 7-1-09 to (almost) perfection by Mr. Kiely.
Left bar slipping out of the bottom screw corrected on 30-6-10 by Mr. Kiely again.
Any questions, just ask!
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  #8  
Old 3rd March 2010, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

I went snorkelling at 6 months and at about 8-9 months I started back kayaking. No problems. Swimming on my front I find awkward but swimming on my back is the same as pre-op.

Fast walking, gardening, no problem. Have been told no running or lifting heavy loads that might put stress on the vertebra above my fusion.
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Posterior surgery March 3, 2009 aged 57. T4-Pelvis. Dr. Geoffrey Askin, Brisbane, Australia.
68 degree curve now 22.
Now pain-free and unrestricted.
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  #9  
Old 3rd March 2010, 09:13 PM
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BeckyH BeckyH is offline
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Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

Quote:
Originally Posted by 461992 View Post
Age: 15
Fused: T3-L5, 1 year 2 months post op

Well, I can paint my toe-nails! Very important! I can shop, walk, swim. I can't really run, I was always slow though!
i forgot toenail painting! that's one of those basic things which i totally take for granted but yes, i too can still touch my toes, cut my nails etc. people are always surprised by that.
__________________
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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  #10  
Old 3rd March 2010, 09:34 PM
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tonibunny tonibunny is offline
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Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

Jen! Kayaking is something I'd love to try, I have friends who are instructors. I worried that I might have trouble flipping myself up again when I capsized though. Are you still able to do that despite being fused to the pelvis?
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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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  #11  
Old 4th March 2010, 01:59 AM
Joy Joy is offline
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Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

Age: 20, 7 years post-op
Instrumentation: CD
Fusion: T2-L1
Activities: Since surgery, I have show-jumped, sailed, played soccer, run cross-country, travelled, worked outdoors, waitressed, and lots of other things. I can do pretty much whatever I want. I can also bend over and touch my toes.
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  #12  
Old 4th March 2010, 02:52 AM
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Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonibunny View Post
Jen! Kayaking is something I'd love to try, I have friends who are instructors. I worried that I might have trouble flipping myself up again when I capsized though. Are you still able to do that despite being fused to the pelvis?
Tonibunny, so far I have not capsized. I did prior to surgery and was able to flip the kayak back up and clamber in. I am fairly sure I would not be able to do that now. My partner insists I wear a life jacket now and we only use the double kayak, so if we flip, I head for shore, while he takes care of the kayak. We don't sea-kayak, only rivers and lakes, for which we're spoilt for choice, around here. It's not difficult to kayak, and being fused seems to have made no difference. I'd definitely recommend it. It's a great pastime!
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Posterior surgery March 3, 2009 aged 57. T4-Pelvis. Dr. Geoffrey Askin, Brisbane, Australia.
68 degree curve now 22.
Now pain-free and unrestricted.
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  #13  
Old 4th March 2010, 03:26 AM
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Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joy View Post
Age: 20, 7 years post-op
Instrumentation: CD
Fusion: T2-L1
Activities: Since surgery, I have show-jumped, sailed, played soccer, run cross-country, travelled, worked outdoors, waitressed, and lots of other things. I can do pretty much whatever I want. I can also bend over and touch my toes.
YOU CAN BEND AND TOUCH YOUR TOES!?!?! You have more fusion than me and I can't! Well I can if I bend at the knee! haha

Running.. ya forgot running.. I can do that.
Swimming is completely the same.. though I find I can't float anymore.. I sink. hahhaa
__________________
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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  #14  
Old 4th March 2010, 04:56 AM
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Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

Hiya i dont mind telling my age its 38 oh it doesnt sound so bad if i say it quickly! any way i have a fused spine obviously or i wouldnt be on this forum, i had mine done in 19.86 at the age of 14 and because of problems with a few vertabraes (not sure if i spelt right!)i have been fused in an "S" shape but before surgery i was a "Z"shape,

i have a Harrington rod fitted too and was told i would be left with a very stiff back for life,and yes its stiff but i cope as many of us do we just adapt,as for things i can do i can just about manage a short ride on my bike not far but its an achievment i suppose,

walk for longer than i used to as i feel the more walking the easier it gets,dance aswell if no twisting oh did i mention put my own footwear on! its a big deal to me that i have learnt to manage it!,

so having our spine fused doesnt mean the end for us it means a start of a different life with some limits.
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  #15  
Old 4th March 2010, 09:34 AM
magnumlady magnumlady is offline
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Default Re: Things you CAN do with a fused spine

What great posts. I will have to get Jono to read this
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