Decision to have spinal reconstruction

Decision to have spinal reconstruction

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linda.atlanta
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Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
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Joined: 05/11/2011 - 1:24pm
Decision to have spinal reconstruction

I am 59 and in generally good health. I have scoliosis and have had periods of low back pain on and off for several years. The pain was short lived and treated mostly with physical therapy.

In the past year my symptoms have increased. I was vacuuming one day a year ago and fell to the floor because my right leg stopped "working". This lasted about 20 minutes. I had another episode three months later after walking a long distance. I have pain at times so bad I cannot stand. I can go weeks without this happening. I find that car rides over a few hours are difficult; the pain because of sitting that long is bad. My pain is episodic; if I do a lot in a day...housework, walking, lifting, then I pay the price later in the day. After a long car ride (10 hours) I was unstable for a couple of weeks afterward.

I have sought the advice of a renowned spine surgeon. He has told me he will operate when I tell him I cannot live with this anymore. He said my operation would require going in through the front, side and back. I would be straightened from the top of my back (at the armpit level) to my pelvis. This will be extensive surgery with multiple rods and screws. The recovery could take 6 months to one year.

I am used to doctors telling me I need a procedure; in this case I am being asked to decide when to operate. I weigh the benefits of doing it now before it gets worse, versus waiting to see how bad I get.

What advice can anyone give me? Will I definitely get worse? Am I better off correcting this now rather than later? I am very confused.

Thanks for your help!

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Clandy (not verified)
Title: Member
No one can tell you what you

No one can tell you what you should do, it is such a major procedure, that only you can decide when and if you need it.

I can share that, I walked away from the doctor that told me it was that surgery and another for other issues, or nothing. He wasn't willing to do anything else and I wasn't willing, nor could I wrap my mind around that kind of procedure. I still can't, so I still hurt.

My suggestion would be to talk to your surgeon, see if he can put you in touch with others that he's done this surgery with, and see what they think. We all say, we'd never do something again when it is fresh in our minds, but maybe talking to folks who are a couple of years down the line... you might garner some info that would help you decide.

Good luck with whatever you choose to do!

Joydancer
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Last seen: 7 months 3 weeks ago
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Joined: 08/01/2009 - 10:15pm
Welcome and what I would suggest...

linda.atlanta wrote:
I am 59 and in generally good health. I have scoliosis and have had periods of low back pain on and off for several years. The pain was short lived and treated mostly with physical therapy.

In the past year my symptoms have increased. I was vacuuming one day a year ago and fell to the floor because my right leg stopped "working". This lasted about 20 minutes. I had another episode three months later after walking a long distance. I have pain at times so bad I cannot stand. I can go weeks without this happening. I find that car rides over a few hours are difficult; the pain because of sitting that long is bad. My pain is episodic; if I do a lot in a day...housework, walking, lifting, then I pay the price later in the day. After a long car ride (10 hours) I was unstable for a couple of weeks afterward.

I have sought the advice of a renowned spine surgeon. He has told me he will operate when I tell him I cannot live with this anymore. He said my operation would require going in through the front, side and back. I would be straightened from the top of my back (at the armpit level) to my pelvis. This will be extensive surgery with multiple rods and screws. The recovery could take 6 months to one year.

I am used to doctors telling me I need a procedure; in this case I am being asked to decide when to operate. I weigh the benefits of doing it now before it gets worse, versus waiting to see how bad I get.

What advice can anyone give me? Will I definitely get worse? Am I better off correcting this now rather than later? I am very confused.

Thanks for your help!

Linda, hi you and I are close to being same age and I have lived with spine issues since my 20's. Lumbar pain was primarily physical stiffness up until my 40's and I went into physical therapy, electrical stim and aqua therapy which was so good and I was able to do well until my Cervical Spine DDD (degen disc disease) took advance with spurs encroaching on spinal cord, it was a clear decision to have interventional surgery for neuropathy, whole left side of body.

Continue to be challenged with progressive DDD C-Spine in remaining 2 levels which are priority again for surgery and my Lumbar Spine has disc bulges causing facet nerve inflammation flare-ups that can only be resolved by epidural nerve injections followed up with permanent radio frequency ablation (a/k/a rhizotomy) on L-4/5, L-2/3.

You don't say specifically what your diagnosis is in your Lumbar other than scoliosis and the grade or severity. I day this because I have scoliosis (severe in C-Spine since birth) and also in Lumbar (mild/moderate). My surgical intervention was not to fix scoliosis, but to intervene on bone spurs encroaching spinal cord, thankfully and was successful. Scoliosis in lumbar has not progressed to advanced over the 40 yrs of arthritis/spondylosis and thankful that issues are facet nerve joints/inflammation that can be remedied with injections.

After having Spine Surgeon (neuro and ortho) assessments, and for progressive spine, I have also learned from others and had highly skilled surgeons with many years specialized with deformity, degenerative complex conditions co-existing with scoliosis and I would highly recommend to:

Get a full assessment 2-3 high-level highly credited university based surgeons;

get into a full understanding of specific prognosis post-surgery, gains and levels of risk, successful track record of similar procedure, and no. of surgeries done by the surgeon;

learn everything you can read/research journal publications of surgeons and their peers reporting on similar spine diagnosis / prognosis cases (Journal Neurosurgery, Orthosurgery, American Assoc of OrthoS and NeuroS very informative and helpful) in understanding these major surgeries;

learn from those who have had similar surgery; who did surgery; what were complications and outcome of recovery;
(health forums)

learn from those who have scoliosis and what treatments ethey have had and ability to function with flare-ups and progressive conditions.

then discern and pray for the best step you can take for your spine, treatment and assess fully informed with professional assessments undertaking one of the most major spine surgery that is done and on multiple levels with complex instrumentation.

Please know, I know it is a tough path to live with spine conditions/deformity and deal with the challenges of pain and disability. I have been disabled semi-retired since 2002 at the young age of 53. It also is a challenge to find what treatment is available and the best treatment for the condition in each phase of living with deformity/degeneration and conditions that are with you for all of your life.

Wanted to offer you what has worked for me - - I have been blessed and supported in doing the best I could to "champion" in learning all I could for my disease and deformity and pursued always getting the best care and treatment I could find. I hope you have the resources, insurance and ability to get the best care, support and treatment as well.

Hope this helps and glad you found us here at Spine Health, always supportive and here for whatever unfolds Smile

Janelle

martincrow
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Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
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Joined: 11/19/2011 - 4:52pm
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Post Edited by Authority Member Liz