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Considering spinal fusion for scoliosis...your experience?
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?

Take the Poll

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
View Poll Results
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.


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