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Considering spinal fusion for scoliosis...your experience?
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scoliaray posted:
Hi, I'm desperate for personal stories about spinal fusion related to my condition. I'm a 31 year old woman with thoracolumbar scoliosis; wore a back brace 3 years ages 13-16, long recommended surgery but never have gotten it. FInally the daily pain is starting to wear me down. I don't have the nerve trouble I see some experience but it's a daily issue which is beginning to affect basic tasks (bending/sitting) as well as yoga. Note I've tried chiropractor, acupuncture, yoga, modifications in seating/sleeping. Haven't tried injections or pills as of yet.


Right now I have two options for procedures:
1. Fusion at L4-5 and L5-S1 vs.
2. Fixing the thoracolumbar scoliosis T11-L4.


The doctor maintains that either procedure would be routine, that I should see it only as a positive thing; essentially, I should get the surgery once I'm ready to not be in pain. It's a compelling argument but I feel nervous that I'm getting it done too early in life, that I should wait until the pain is unbearable, wait until after I have had a child, etc. If I got this surgery, I would do all the requisite physical therapy, wear my brace as necessary, etc. I'm currently doing yoga 3x/week to strengthen around the area.


Ultimately I hope to hear from folks who have had the L4-5 and L5-S1 surgery, ideally from those who are a year or more out of surgery. What advice would you give? If you could do it again, what would you change or keep the same?

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What would you recommend?
  • Fusion at L4-5 and L5-S1 now
  • Fusion at L4-5 and L5-S1 when pain is unbearable
  • Fusion at T11-L4 now
  • Fusion at T11-L4 when pain is unbearable
  • No surgery; yoga, physical therapy etc
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dollbug responded:
Hello....MiMi in NC...I am normally on the FM community but I read other users' posts as well. I was reading your post and I just wanted to know if you have looked into the *laser surgery* that is available in some areas? You do not say where you are from so I have no idea IF this would be an option for you to consider. But it might be a good thing to look into.

I had cervical (neck) surgery several years back. I did some research on this since I was actually scared to have it done. I had major issues with my right shoulder down to my fingers and the pain was so bad that I could no longer use my right hand/arm. (I am right handed also) I could not wash my hair and brush my teeth and do a lot of things where both hands/arms are needed.

The surgery was the best thing that I did. The recovery was difficult but I recovered well. I had to have parathyroid about 7 months prior to the cervical surgery. So I ended up being cut across my throat area from left to right. When I spoke to my neurosurgeon about the surgery I wanted to know how long it would take for the pain to go away and he told me that IF he did his job correctly that I would have *instant relief*....of course I did NOT believe him. I had read a lot of horror stories about people who have this kind of surgery and who ended up worse than were before they had the surgery. I was quite pleased and surprised when I came from the recovery room. I no longer had the shoulder pain that I had experienced. It hurt me 24/7 at the time I had the surgery.

I do think you should make sure you get a good surgeon. I know that I got a really good one. He ended up doing my right elbow surgery and my carpal tunnel also.

I hope you find the relief that you deserve. It is awful living in pain.

Good luck and take care.


MiMi


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