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Scoliosis after a spinal fusion

dbarbeau48ddbarbeau48 Posts: 318
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Scoliosis
I am wondering if there is anyone out there that developed Scoliosis after having a spinal fusion. My 5 level fusion was done almost 5 years ago. Up until 3 months ago, I was living with the pain. I was active, walking 4 to 5 miles a day, and even playing 9 holes of golf once a week when the weather was good. Three months ago I noticed my left hip was sticking out. I also started having back spasms and sciatic pain in the left buttock running down the back of my leg. I have, for some strange reason, developed a moderate scoliosis, a "C" shape to the left. I will be seeing a OS who specializes in scoliosis in a month. I have had an MRI and spine xrays to confirm this condition.

Are there any thoughts, comments, or suggestions for me to ask the doctor?

Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.


  • I started developing noticeable scoliosis February this year after suffering with lower back problems for years and developing sciatic pain January this year. My right hip appeared to be higher than my left, my waist curved in more on the right and have been in excruciating pain ever since. Inhad my first specialist ortho appointment last week and xrays. I was horrified at just how bent it was in black and White! Consultant thinks it's due to a prolaped disc which is yet to be confirmed with a scan (12 week waitig list) He said that if and when I have surgery for the suspected disc problem, the scoliosis will sort itself after a good course of Physio as it's not structural. It's merely a symptom of the disc injury. Really hope so :( I can't wear a lot of my clothes bvsuse they don't hang right because of the damn curve.
  • I'm sorry I don't know anything about getting scoliosis after having spinal fusion, but I certainly understand your concern. I have had back problems since about 1999. Now, my left shoulder drops quite a way down below my right shoulder, it's very noticeable. I have had problems wearing clothes for years, so I understand, share, and sympathize that damn curve thing with JoQ.

    I developed this poochiness (for lack of a better word!) on the right side of my rib cage down to my stomach) and my Scolisos has progressed over the years, but just since March of this year, it has gone from 46 degress in the lower lumbar to 66 degrees and my spinal specialist cannot figure out why. He is wanting to do a spinal fusion within 3 months. I had polio when I was around 13-14 months old and I am almost 65 years of age now (I know I'm too old have this kind of stuff!).

    My pain levels are a 9 on a good day, I have these gel packs that I keep in the freezer and alternate between them during the day or I could not survive. I have some medications, but only get some relief. I have to titrate down and go completely off one of them before the surgery, so I will be climbing the walls "IF" I decide to have the fusion. This doctor is very good, at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, one of the best around, so I trust him, but I worry because the surgery will consist of fusing the T-3 to the S1/ILIUM. But, there are a lot of risks!

    My husband and I were so shocked, we both just sat there, shocked..... and didn't know and couldn't think of any questions to ask. I mean he just came in and we discussed all the procedures I have had done in the past and how nothing has helped me, and he said they only recommend this type of surgery as a last resort, and for me, this is the last resort!

    They had done a Black and White standing X-Ray of me and my back is a complete backward "C"........of course they have all kinds of tests lined up to see if even I am a candidate for this surgery and there is a consultation with the doctor, so we will be able to ask questions. But, I am so scared, I don't know what to do! He said there is even a chance of me being paralyzed because of the progression. Oh, yes, I've had PT, injections, steroid injections, selection nerve root injections, facet injections, even a discogram that was prositive for tears and small bulges, even a pelvic tilt, back in 2006, and that surgeon was going to do surgery on me at that time, however, one test was positive for osteoporosis.

    Last year I got a very good Bone Density test. I've been taking Calcium Caltrate and Vitamin D3. I was taking prescription Vitamin D at that time so who knows, I may not be a candidate for this surgery, but it still scares me to think of going thru that kind of surgery. That's a lot of levels for an old lady like me! Thanks for listening.

    Dick, I hope, you can work things out with physical therapy or injections and JoQ, good luck to you also.

  • After 4 sugeries including my neck I only have a few disk not fused. I have been on morphine for 13 years and the doctors are redusing the dose, my pain levels are at 8 and 9 on my best days. I am lost every pain doctor in my area no longer do pills only injections, they tried can't get the needle past the fusion. Anyone have an idea, I am open to anything to reduce the pain. HELP
  • I am in the same boat as you. 4 months after spinal fusion I now have scoliosis and can hardly walk. Seeing my surgeon tomorrow.
  • I had a 4 level spinal fusion in 2007 and then 18months ago i needed another level done all at the C/spine , the MRI scan showed I also now have mild thoracic scoliosis. That was 18 months ago I am also a chronic pain sufferer and also have a compromise at L4/L5 L5/S1 but I did not have any of thease problems untill after the fusions , my life was not normal after my fusions i had bladder damage and spondylotic cervical myelopathy. I really hope things go well for you and you can keep as active as possable. Takecare
  • YES.

    I just learned that my spine has a noticeable (and painful I may add) curve to the right, which is causing me some alarm. I had my L5 fusion in 2011, and its in the exact spot of my fusion that the scoliosis is developing. I am 24 years old, was active up until my surgery, and I have been attempting to maintain a decent level of activity since.

    I am also unsure of a plan of action. So far my doctor has ordered xrays but I am too scared to see the results so I haven't had them done yet. She also suggested I wear the back brace I was using immediately after my surgery.
  • After a discussion with my surgeon a few days ago, the question "is it possible for my curve to progress even though my spine has fused?"
    He answered with it is possible, but in most cases only due to developing osteoporosis (bones becoming weaker/more brittle). Check with your GP or surgeon if this is the case. But they'll be able to come up with a solution no matter what the cause.
    Infantile Idiopathic Kyphoscoliosis patient.
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