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Got a 2-day surgery coming up- any good news?

NaptownGirlNNaptownGirl Posts: 56
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Scoliosis
Hi! I'm new here and posted about my surgery under Back and Neck surgery also. In Feb. I am having a 2-day, 2-stage surgery to correct a 51 degree curvature in my lower back. Has anyone else had this surgery? Any good news from it?

Five years ago my curve was only around 30 degrees. Standing more than a few min. is very painful. If the burning and pain doesn't get to me, the stiffness does. My hip constantly shifts out of place, too. It has been very depressing to be in pain all the time and not as active as I would like to be. I'm even selling my house because I can't do the repairs/maintenance necessary to keep it up. :<

Day 1- the doc is going through the front (my lower tummy) to remove any discs that need removed, straighten me out and fuse me up. Day 2- he goes in through the side and inserts the titanium rods. Day 1 scares me the most because he says a cardiovascular surgeon will be assisting since they have to work around my aorta. :jawdrop:

Has anyone had a similar surgery for scoliosis? I'm terrified.


  • I've left you a reply on the Back and Neck forum.
  • Hi NaptownGirl --
    My surgeon has just recommended what sounds essentially the same surgery for me. I would have one surgery, then a day or so later have the second surgery. I'm terrified as well. JenG's comments were encouraging to me. However, I'm still undecided about what to do. I fear having the surgery, but also fear what my condition may be a few years from now if I don't have it. Do you have any arthritis or stenosis along with the curvature?

    I pray you come to have peace about it and that surgery and recovery go well for you.

  • I don't have scoliosis (well, I do, but its minor compared to my other problems) but I needed to have an ALIF (fronterior fusion) about 6 weeks ago. 7 years ago I had a PLIF, such a huge difference in my pain level and healing.

    Your Surgeon should have a specialist accompanying him to deal with the major arteries and veins that will be disturbed during the surgery. Best wishes to you, Lisa
  • I have scoliosis too. On 2-24-09 I had 1 almost 9 hour surgery - the surgeon said he would do it all in one day or go in through the front the first day and then I'd be in the hospital and 5 days later he would go in through the back. Things went well and I only had sugery on 2-24. I had 2 curves - like an S, I am 50 now and about 2 years ago, my curves were getting worse. My dr. kept telling me, it's time to see a surgeon but of all things - I was going to wait until I paid our house off - I was so close.

    Anyway, my back went out - there is no other way to put in in Oct. 08, surgery was scheduled for 2-24-09
    On that day, they did a 360 fusion, going in through the front in the morning and then in through the back of me in the afternoon. They also had to remove a rib and I had a complete discectomy - all of my discs were shot. I have 24 screws. the titanium rods and I had 50 staples.

    I had some complications with blood pressure and things that there is no reason to think would happen to you and I was in the hospital for almost 2 weeks.
    I went directly from the hospital in a wheelchair van to a highly regarded Rehab hospital which is like 1/2 mile from my house. I could see my neighborhood from my hospital window. I had really gentle nursing care there and they worked with me on walking and also rolling in and out of bed. I am fused from just below my shoulders clear to my tailbone.

    I was at the rehab hospital for 8 days. When I got home I did have a lot of pain but had medication for it. I was extremely weak - but I had been in the hospital for so long - I gradually got a little stronger. I had a lot of physical therapy - the pool therapy was great.

    Almost a year later, I don't show signs of fusing yet and my surgeon just ordered me 6 weeks of new physical therapy. I can do a lot of different things but I still get exhausted.

    The best and most exciting thing was the day I went to Banana Republic to buy new clothes - new back = new shape. I bought a trench coat that fit rather snugly and when I looked in the 3 way mirror and saw how flat it fit up against my back - I was like, can that really be my back - no putting it back on the rack for loose clothes - my back is so straight.

    I am so glad that it is 2010 and last year is over.
    I was not terrified of surgery. They had a thorasic surgeon - he removed my rib and kept everything out of the way while my surgeon was working on my spine. It had pushed my diaphram out of place & other things out of place. Another Dr. did the discectomy while my surgeon did my back. Both curves got a really good degree of correction. I was going to be in big trouble very soon if I didn't have surgery.

    I got through that and I'm sure you guys will do fine too. It's like a battle though, you have to
    fight and do your part. I did apply and receive social security disability on the first try. Good luck and try not to be so scared - I don't remember anything after the anethesialogist introduced himself.

    The original pain is pretty much changed - not gone - but I have different pain now, like today my back really hurts but it's not like before surgery. They tell me it can be a 2 yr recovery, I had a huge surgery.

    I think you will do fine, I made sure and had my house all ready when I left for the hospital and looked on this message board's suggestions for things to buy to help me when I came home. I do have
    some nerve damage, on my left side where my deep incision was, my leg from my knee up to my waist feels, not totally numb but very dull. I am getting used to it. My surgeon says & I agree to trade that for the great results from surgery is worth it. You may not even have that.

    The waiting is hard plus - while you're waiting for surgery you are also hurting. I tried to do one thing every day to get my house ready - like wash one curtain a day and iron it the next. It kept me busy but one thing a day was all that I could manage, I was in so much pain.

    Good luck, Susie
  • Susie -- thanks for your encouraging words. Wow, you had quite a surgery. I admire your positive attitude and willingness to share your experience in such detail with us. All of that is good to know.
  • I didn't mean for that to be such a long
    story - but it was a long year!
  • Hey just read your post..sounds a little similar to my surgery but ill let you decide for youself. Ill go through it in good detail to give you a picture.This may be the longest post ever so brace yourself :)

    Surgery 1: Basically a couple of years ago i had my first surgery for scoliosis.They first go through around my side and take out any discs and cut through stiff ligaments so to loosen up my spine for the second surgery. When they went through my side they had to collapse one of my lungs just to get around to those discs. They had to leave tubes in my side into my lung to inflate it again and keep it going (was really weird but amazing just to see these tubes running into my side). The first surgery was far the worse,was very uncomfortable,sick,in pain but you should get round the clock care so dont worry!! i almost remember it being quite peaceful in intensive care.You will also get plenty of morphine so that should help! (i actually had a very bad reaction with morphine so i had to be taken off it).

    After a day or two in intensive care they took the tubes out of my side that inflated my lung by using plenty of drugs!!!..almost too many drugs because i got a reaction to the drugs called 'the pink elephant' which isnt good cus i started becoming delusional and i actually thought i was dead lol no joke!!. Anywayz was sick for a while after that!

    Surgery 2: They first stuck electro wires on my head and body i think so that they could monitor my spine and make sure they didnt paralyse me basically. The surgeon made an incision from my lower neck down near my lower back (its fairly long,length of my back pretty much). This surgery was 4 or 5 hours i think. When i woke up i felt pretty good but i couldnt move,they had to do motor functioning tests regulary to check that i still had feelings in my arms and legs. I couldnt feel my back as all the nerves were just shocked from all the trama in the surgery. The surgery went very well.

    Then i was told that they had a slight complication as they nicked my spine during the surgery and that spinal fluid leaked to my brain. It wasnt life threatening but It was probably the worse pain i had ever felt in my life because i started to get migranes that could kill you inside! was seriously sick and in serious pain to be honest. Had to be bed bound,lying face up for 5 days straight. They gave me all sorts of drugs including Caffeine liquid to slow the blood flow that was going into my brain so to reduce the headaches and clam me down.Lost more than 2 stone overall also.

    After another good week or so i recovered well,kept my spirits up and eventually i went home.

    I didnt mean to scare you or put you off. I thought if i went through my experience in detail it would give you an insight.You have to prepare yourself mentally for these kind of surgeries,there no walk in the park let me tell you!. I wouldnt worry too much,your in good hands and most hospital staff are amazing,they are so helpful!. Anyway if you have any questions let me know,im here to help!. Hope it all works out for you!

  • I'm terrified. The surgeon says I need fusion from the T12 down. I found out, thru the last surgery, that I have a Factor V (5) deficiency. That means my body will tell my blood to clot rather than thin out, so I have a higher risk for spinal hematomas after surgery. I'm really freaking out. Also, he says if my bones aren't strong enough by will have to do pelvic fixation. Basically he will turn me into a tree stand, fixing rods from my spine down to my pelvis. I really don't want that.

    Right now I feel much better already. He was able to fuse a couple of the lumber vertebra during the first procedure. It is so nice to walk around and not be in pain. I would like to not have the surgery, but there is still a good amount of curvature left. As we know, it won't just go away and is likely to keep progressing. All deductibles have been met and work is prepared for me to be off. So do I go ahead or do I wait until I'm much older and HAVE to do the surgery? UGH!
  • Sorry it is taking so long to reply to posts. I couldn't remember my user name or the email address I used! Anyway, my PCP says I have been through alot and have a great attitude- considering. Although I think you deserve the prize! I have had migraines, too because of elevated blood pressure. After being in the hospital for a week I was sent home. (I, too, had the electrodes put on my head :-) I was home for less than 2 days and went right back in for another week. A hematoma had formed on my left uriter, causing my kidney to swell. It was the worse pain I have ever had. Asked to compare it to childbirth by one of the nurses, I said, "yes, if you are giving birth to an alien baby that is ripping you apart". Needless to say, it hurt.

    My only fears are one, I have the clotting disorder which makes my risks for spinal bleeding higher, and two, I don't want the pelvic fixation. Right now I have a great deal of movement in my hips (bending forward) and my thorasic spine and neck. The thought of being fixated like a tree stand is giving me daily panick attacks.

    On a different note, some of you may find this amusing, my 2nd surgery was originally scheduled for Friday the 13th. When my doc found out he made the nurse change it! :))( Now it is the day before my birthday. <:P
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