Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Scheuermann's Kyphosis - Spinal Fusion Surgery


My name is Lydia and I am 24 years old. I have noticed an abnormal curve in my spine since I was about 10 or 11 years old. Since then it has gotten progressively worse and so has my back pain. When I was 18 I was diagnosed with scheuermann's kyphosis, or to use the worst word ever "hunchback". I already knew what I had because my older brother had it also and had worn a brace for a few years as a teenager. I saw him suffer through wearing the brace and seeing as it didn't even help much, I never wanted to go through that. This deformity is something that is extremely emotionally difficult to deal with. Growing up I was called names in school, had to get off a ride or 2 at the theme park since the harness couldn't close, and go through life daily knowing I look different than everyone else. This isn't something like being overweight that is common and fixable on your own, I hate the way my back looks, I feel judged by others and this prevents me from being the person I really am. All that is not to mention the physical pain when being in any kind of position for too long. Most of the pain I feel is in my lower back on my sides, my shoulders are very tender, and I have some numbness in the middle of my back.

I have wanted to have surgery to correct my spine for a very long time. I am a very happy, confident person, and am happy with my appearance, other than my back, and I think this would greatly increase my quality of life. Now that I am a young adult and have a decent job with medical benefits I feel that this is the best time for me to do it. When I was 18 and got diagnosed, I went to a spinal surgeon and left not feeling good about it at all. The doctor was discouraging and I didn't feel comfortable with him. Being 18 years old and not having much support from my family, I decided to put it off at the time.

Things in my life have changed and I know without a doubt surgery is what I want. Today I went to a Neurosurgeon in LA with extremely good credentials. Both him and his partner suggest Spinal Fusion surgery for me. I understand this is an extreme surgery and that I will have a long and painful recovery, but I know it will be worth it. I also understand that I am most likely going to need it at some point in my life so why not now when I am young and healthy and do not have large responsibilities yet.

Normal curvature of the spine is 20-50 degrees. When I was 18 mine was at 79 and now it is at 85 degrees. Needless to say, I am a candidate for spinal fusion surgery to correct this. The doctors say the surgery will be 3-5 hours long. Then I will be in the hospital for 3-5 days, they said they make me get up and walk within a day of having the surgery to quicken the recovery time. I was told I should be able to go back to work after 3 months, since I have a fairly easy office job. Within 6 months I should be doing pretty much back to myself and after 1 year I will be completely back to normal. Of course I will have plenty of pain meds in the beginning and physical therapy for about 9 months. They said they could bring my degree of curve to around 50, not average but certainly a HUGE improvement.

My real goal by coming to this site is to find other people who have situations similar to mine. I want to hear good and bad stories of this type of surgery and to hear experiences of people who know what it is I have to deal with this condition every day. I want to know what it is like after surgery, down the road a few months, and years after if possible. I also want to share my story with others who have this problem. I consider myself a strong person and this is something not easy to deal with but it can be fixed.

I feel like there are not many experiences with this exact condition out there. So if I don't get my questions answered, maybe I can answer someone else's in the future. I know it takes precious time to answer questions like this but it will be greatly appreciated.

So can anyone here answer my questions or give me any insight that the future me might have.
Will going through all this time, pain, and money be worth it?
Will I be happy with the correction they can give me?
How "normal" does your back look after?
What else do I need to know?

Thank you to anyone who reads!


  • Lydia,

    You are smart for having gotten a few different surgeon's opinions and having waited until your work and medical insurance situations are stable. 24 is young for a fusion, but so was 34, when I did mine. The operation length will depend on how many levels they will be fusing and what the surgeons encounter once they open you up. It is a huge and very painful operation, but do it for the right reasons - to correct a structural issue - and not solely for the appearance.

    You will need a TON of support after the op and especially in the first two weeks.
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • Reading your story I felt your pain. I can understand why you want to undergo spinal fusion. At the end you asked some hard questions, that is impossible to answer with certainty, but looking at the facts, I think that going from 85 deg to 50 is significant. Ask your doctor if he agrees, but I think a marked curvature of the spine will cause a lot of pain down the road and the surgery, could probably eliminate some of these. So it appears that the surgery could bring physical relief as well as improvement in the way you look (most importantly, the way you see yourself) and these are important considerations. My experience is the following: at age 15 I was diagnosed with a marked s-shaped curvature of the spine, at that time, over 60 years ago, surgery was not too promising, so I received two years of intensive PT. As a result, I did not suffer from back pain until I developed severe sciatica decades later. Six years ago I had a three level lumbar fusion, and in Aug. 14, 2014, I had a six-level spinal fusion. Both surgeries went much better than I anticipated. With the second surgery, I "grew" 1 1/2". You will probably experience the same. I am one of the few fortunate people, who had minimal pain after surgery, yet recovery is taking time. About 10 weeks after surgery, I still have restrictions, no bending, twisting or lifting, and sitting more than 45 minutes at the time. I am glad I had my surgery, but every individual is different. Make sure you ask your surgeon lots of questions, most importantly, what kinds of improvements can you expect? Compare that with what the doctor says could be expected without the surgery. Then decide. Don't rush into surgery, but if you trust your surgeon, and you like what he tells you can be the expected outcome of the surgery, consider it very seriously. And remember, there are many satisfied fusion patients.
  • Our situations aren't very similar so I don't have much to add in that regard but I wanted to thank you for sharing. From what you've said your surgeon's outlook seems reasonable and you seem ready. Hopefully someone with similar issues will chime in.

    Please keep us updated and know that we're thinking about you.
    CSM = C2-C5 Posterior Laminectomy w/Fusion and Instrumentation
    Surgery Complete 10/4/14
  • tpotterttpotter Posts: 1
    edited 08/06/2015 - 10:19 AM
    hey Lydia,
    I noticed I had a curve in my back when I was about 12 years old, I ended up having a 93 degree curve by the time I was 14. We consulted a great surgeon in Charlotte,NC where he said I could wear a brace for 23 hours a day and keep it from getting worse or I could elect to have surgery since mine was still progressively getting worse. My parents and I decided for surgery. I had my surgery a few months later. I had to go in a few times before my surgery to give blood so they would have that on reserve if/when I needed it. My surgery ended up lasting about 9 hours and I was fused from my t4 to my l3 with titanium rods. I have a scar that goes from the base of my neck pretty much to about 2 or 3 inches above my waist. I wont lie to you and tell you that it is a walk in the park because it is horrific. The recovery is pretty tough but I woke up feeling "normal" for once in many years. About 6 or so months later I felt back to normal like I did before my surgery. I went on the play sports and live a normal teenage life. I just went back for a check up (its been 10 years since my surgery now as i am 26 years old), and everything looks great. I still have some numbness in parts of my back that my doctor said i would have forever (it isn't bothersome). It is a little tough dealer with lower back pain sometimes when i first wake up or ive been sitting for a good while. It takes awhile to get strength completely back. I have decided to start taking Pilates to help strengthen my back and my core (at the advice of my surgeon). The one thing i WOULD ABSOLUTELY SUGGEST, is you do your homework when finding a surgeon to do this. I went thru 3 doctors until i found someone who i was confident enough with. The two guys i had do my surgery were best in class. Don't rush into the surgery with just anyone because you are gambling with your spine. Although the recovery was awful, it was one of the best decisions i could've ever made for myself. I hope this helps!

    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
  • Spine helpSSpine help Posts: 1
    edited 08/08/2015 - 9:38 PM
    Hi can you tell me who did your surgery?

    Forum rules prohibit recommendations of medical professionals and facilities

    Moderator's message...Please click on link for helpful information
    Welcome to Spine-Health

Sign In or Register to comment.