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I have a 51.7 degree curve from T12 to L3 and a 33.2 degree curve from L3 to S1. They are recommending  fusing from T10 to sacrum. I am 64 years old, have had scoliosis of my entire spine (S curve) since I was a teenager, but in the last five years it has really begun to progress fast. Just wondering of there is anyone on here who has had similar surgery at an age close to mine. I've had more surgeries than the average person and have never felt anxious about any surgery before. I have always avoided spine surgery however, and this would be my first. Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated.



  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 1,489

    Hi ase_t! 

    Welcome to Spine-Health

    2 years ago i was fused T10 to S2/pelvis.  so....that's similar if not the same as what they have proposed to you.  There are several of us on the forum with similar long fusions.   I had mine done when i was 45 so a bit younger (although i sure didn't feel young....lol).  There is a lot of great information here on the forum, and i'm sure that everyone will chip in here soon.  My whole story-the last 3 years or so, is in this section my scoliosis part 4 and part 3 and part 2 and my scoliosis (you'll have to scroll through the pages for those ones).

    It's a LONG recovery.  and it's not easy.  it's not like getting a pin in an ankle....you will need help for at least the first 3 weeks post surgery for everything.  my biggest problems were i couldn't shower without feeling faint, i couldn't roll over in bed without help, and i could NOT get to anything that was lower than my knees!  the other horrible issue was i was bored to tears, so make sure you have something to do-reading, knitting, television, something that you can sit, lay down, stand and do.  learn everything you can about what they need to do and how they will do it, and also, practice before surgery moving like you should after-no bending lifting or twisting.  also, i think something that catches some people off guard is that you will likely have pain after surgery-for me mine was vastly reduced to the pain i had before surgery, but if you don't have a lot of pain before you need to understand that you may have new nerve pain after surgery because everything gets pulled and stretched and moved in the surgery.  your best resource is your surgeon for sure on what they want to do, and i know there's at least 8 or 9 of us here that have the similar long fusion that can help out with what we went through surgery and recovery wise. 

    for me, i under estimated the recovery time.  my surgeon said a year or two....i'm two years and it's now two to five years.....and i can tell i'm still healing.  also, don't push yourself too hard after surgery or you'll have set backs.  i went back to work at 3 months and should likely have waited until 6 months on retrospect.  but i was so bored!!!!  i had my surgery right before christmas so i was happy to stay in and watch the snow outside, but still 3 months was a bit ambitious.  and i've had a really smooth good recovery.....but it is very very long.  patience and patience and more patience is needed for the recovery, but for me at least it's been totally worth it!

    Veritas-Health Moderator
    Dec '16 T10-S2 fusion with pelvic fixation. Laminectomies L2, L3, L4, L5, facet removal, cages L4-5, L5-S1, severe scoliosis, arthritis and stenosis repair. 

  • Hi Ase - I am also 64. I had T5-L5 fusion with rods done on 3/23/18. No pelvic fixation. I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was about 12 years old but I was already my full height so nothing was done other than monitoring it over the years. I really didn't have any pain until I was in my 40's. I saw a few specialists over the years but no one presented surgery as an option. I retired when I was 59 because I was in too much pain to do everything I needed to do for my job.My pain got worse and worse to the point I started seeing a pain management doctor and had multiple injections , ablations, etc., but nothing helped. I had just assumed that I was too old to have surgery but my pain mgmt. doctor referred me to a local surgeon who referred me to a neurosurgeon at a large teaching hospital. My surgery took 8 hours with 2 doctors doing the actual surgery. Like WLLady, I also underestimated the healing and recuperation time. I am still going to physical therapy and still have pain but rarely take any pain meds. I did take pain meds until November.  I actually quit a few months prior  to that, but had to start again for awhile. I had my surgery about 250 miles from my home and was hospitalized for 8 days.  Probably would have been 6, but I had some other health issues they were monitoring.  I  ended up being transported by ambulance to a rehab facility near my home. I was there for 2 weeks, but a week would have been enough. This gave my husband a bit of a break as he was my sole caregiver once I came home. Every day is a little bit different.  I have some really good ones, and some not so great.  My curve was primarily in my very low back. It was corrected from about 52 degrees to 22. My doctor said because I'd had it most of my life, they couldn't totally correct it. He said its different if someone has sudden onset. I did physical therapy and walked about a mile a day for 3 months prior to my surgery. Pretty difficult in the shape I was in. I used a cane for that.  You're the only one that can decide if you want to do this. My husband and I decided it was worth a shot. I think I was headed towards being in a wheelchair. I think it's still going to be awhile before I'm fully healed, but I can do a little more than before the surgery. Most of the intense pain I had in my lower back is considerably better since the surgery.  The pain I'm having now is in my mid back and upper back. I'm hoping this will eventually go away because it's aggravating. I also have fibromyalgia  - starting to wonder if that's causing some of the upper back pain flares. I also have a 5 year old knee replacement that's causing significant pain and needs a revision. Probably have that done next summer or fall when my neurosurgeon thinks it's okay. I think the biggest problem with having this major back surgery at our age is that many of us have other medical issues. I would consider inpatient rehab after surgery unless your surgery is close to home and you have a full time caregiver at home. I'm guessing that until I get my knee fixed I won't know how much my full improvement will be. Because of the knee, I still use a cane if I have to walk very far. I was very anxious before my surgery so talked to my primary care about it.  She prescribed short term medication for the 2 weeks prior to surgery which really helped. Let me know if I can answer any questions you have about my experience. Wishing you the best!

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  • hi I was 58 when I was fussed from t9 to s2 with pelvic fixstion. yes I was not looking forward to it and had done my best to advoid back surgery at all cost. my curve was a 46 degree lumbar that had jumped to 60 with now a 22 degree recurve, so I went from c curve to an s and it was still progressing so I thought it was best to due the surgery before it got too bad where they would not be able to do it. it is very normal to be anxios about this kind of surgery. so ask your questions here, there is sevral of us that are in your age range and about the same amont of fussion. ask your doctors lots of question. and remember the older we get the hard and longer for recovery.  so, I am here for you any questions just ask

  • ase_t - I will join in too. I am in January surgery buddies & just had ALIF/PLIF T9-S1 and I just turned 65 last month. I also had a curve all my life until it started to impede walking & standing earlier this year. Tried PT & epidurals but the curve just progressed too far too fast so surgery was my choice. Only 3 weeks (almost) out so too soon to tell but my spine is straighter, I gained 2-3 inches (not sure) but the curve was worse in my lumbar so now I feel like I have more room in my stomach/abdomen area, whereas before it was scrunched-if that makes sense. I know it will be a long recovery but I have faith that with work it will be a better quality of life when I'm done. It is a hard personal decision and no one can predict the future. I had other conditions too but my surgeon had a full team to address whatever might happen so I have faith in him. 

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