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Spine straightening and fusion

Hi everyone I was diagnosed with scoliosis at 15 years old, Now approaching my 40th bday. I am in intense pain. its been suggested I get my spine straightened and lumbar fusion done. (confused if I have to have all levels done) Looking for answers. Top curve is 52 degrees and bottom is 53 degrees, 3 herniated discs, spondiolysis, narrowing of spinal canal, T spine is flat on inner end. Had laminectomy 4 years ago and degrees were only upper 30's low 40's. Has anyone had this done, Straightening spine from T3 to ilium which is hip bones. Did they have to fuse all the discs or just lower if herniated? what was your recovery period. what were you able to do post op for yourself, were you able to go back to work. He has said I will not be able to bend at the waist.
Brenda L Kramer


  • We should talk! lol. I'm sorry you are going through this. Your surgeon is correct, no more bending at the waist... I know that sounds like a huge deal but it isn't . You can bend (once you've had a couple of months to heal) from the top of your legs.... Trust me, I pick toys off the floor constantly. Its a huge surgery... I returned to work 7 weeks after my last fusion/revision. Its a lot to process mentally and go through physically. Let me know if you have any specific questions. I don't want to make a long post to worry you, just know... its a rough surgery and a rough recovery... but I'd consider my life pretty normal now.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • I am 5 weeks post-op repair of adult scoliosis as well as some other problems--was fused from T10 down to L4 where it connects to my previous lumbar fusion L4-S1. You can read my posts in the July Surgery Buddies thread, if you're interested in how I've done--which is very good, IMO. I'm not a doctor but it sounds like you're in trouble with curvatures as bad as you describe. If I were you I wouldn't hesitate to have the surgery. True, you won't be able to bend your back but as AllMetal said, you learn to bend at the hips and even though I'm just over one month out from surgery, I'm picking up things from the floor now. Cannot put on my own socks, but got the neatest sock aid that I will probably use for the rest of my life.

    Let us know what you decide and know that everyone here wishes you the best! :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • bkramer91bbkramer91 Posts: 4
    edited 09/06/2013 - 12:28 PM
    Thanks for commenting on my status. I've been nervous but am looking forward to a better solution than a laminectomy. I just have to wait until November cause the physician would like to see me lose 50 lbs. He wants to get the curves as straight as possible. I have found out that the whole T-3 to Ilium will be fused. Its a 2 stage procedure, the first surgery I will be straightened and pinned. 2 days in intensive care to make sure no side effects or infections. Then back to surgery to get cages in place and bone matter to fuse the spine. Expected 4-7 days in hospital post op and then limitations. Do you know if you can ride in a car after surgery or are you pretty much homebound??
    Brenda L Kramer
  • You can ride in the car home but past that I'm not sure. I spent longer in the hospital so when I did come home I went out every day, small trips, but still out. This would be a good question to ask your surgeon. Don't get too upset over it one way or the other... chances are by the time you are feeling up to going out, you'll be allowed to. Sorry you are going through all of this. It's tough. Best of luck to you!
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • Okay doc really wants to make sure I am fully aware of all the things that could go wrong, I am waiting til after the holidays cause I don't want to miss out on that time with family. So it'll be the first part of the year. I have been told by my doctor that I probably wont return to work once the procedure is done. Just turning 40 in September with 1 previous Laminectomy L=5 S -1. My surgery is going to happen in 2 stages. One day straightening and rod icu for 2 days and then 2nd morning back in surgery with levels T-3 to ilium being fused and caged in. Figuring 8 hours a day in the or. Its great to read your posts and it gives me encouragement. Thank you.
    Brenda L Kramer
  • I had a similar experience... 10 hours in the OR on Monday... 10 hours in the OR on Friday. I didn't recover well from the Friday... I spent 10 days in the ICU... two weeks in the hospital. I remember very little of that time, and what I do remember isn't pretty at all. My family answers my direct questions about that time period, but even they don't like to talk about it. I went straight from the hospital via ambulance to another inpatient rehab hospital for 3 weeks... and well... it was tough... very tough, I can't lie... 5 weeks from my children... geez... Plus do to some other factors with my spine I had to almost "relearn" to walk. Honestly its hard for me to even talk about.... HOWEVER... I just think about today... today I went to work with a job I love, picked up my kids... my husband is out of town, I made supper, got kids showered, dressed in costumes, trick or treated a large neighborhood via foot, came home, got my kids to bed... and now I sit content with pain level of about 3, so its tolerable... off all narcotics/muscle relaxers... living a very normal and content life... the months leading up to these surgeries I went to work and came home to a recliner day after day... so happy I have my life back... focus on that... and there were several other "factors" with me that shouldn't apply to you... You'll get through it... its tough but its so worth it... Just no you aren't alone!
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • I too had my spine straightened after being knocked unconscious by a snowboarder. it was a hard hit and put my SI joint in a different time zone!! Eventually my spine started collapsing in on itself so had to be fused from L1 to S1. I had already been fused from L4 to L5 so that came out and the new stuff went in. I only gained a couple degrees of straightness and lost 1/4" in height (I am only 5'1" !!).

    I did not have as lengthy a procedure as you are going to have but it is a long recovery. I did go back to work at 3 weeks for both fusions. I am (or was) a competitive athlete so that I think helped my recovery. It takes a year or 2 for full recovery. You will find you adapt ways to move and bend.

    Sitting was never comfortable before or after. I still had a lot of pain and it was from my SI joints. They were fused this year, one at a time because of the need to be partial weight bearing. Sitting is easier now with that pain gone. Everyone is different tho.

    Having a strong core really helps and I do my exercises every day. Walking was wonderful exercise after surgery as was swimming. The feeling of being weightless is wonderful. It might be a good thing to look into for your weight loss as it is so gentle on the back.

    Please keep us posted on everything. Good luck.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
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