Anyone had (or know anyone that has had) spine surgery?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 18, 2008 4:44 AM GMT
    So I've finally got to the point of back pain (I have Scheuermann's kyphosis that's making the lower curvature worse too) where the only option my orthopedic surgeon will say is surgery... but its a spinal fusion... anyone have any experience/knowledge on the subject? I really can't find anyone thats had the operation or even had upper back surgery... lots of lower back, but thats a way different surgery... no ribs to crack in the process...

    Sorry for shoving this in the standard forum, but lets face it, its the fastest way to get hits, whether or not they make sense...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 18, 2008 5:00 AM GMT


    My friend from the Telco had this done at 26. He's doing great, no trouble at all now, though the healing up was tough, because 'they' made him work at exercises and work and he didn't want to because he hurt.

    He's AOK now, rides his motorbike, got married and has 2 kids, and currently renovating a character home. You will too, er, well, skip the married to girl having babies part. heh

    They're going to crack your spine? icon_eek.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 18, 2008 5:05 AM GMT
    haha... fixed... was supposed to say ribs cracked... they open up the side to get to the tendon...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 18, 2008 5:16 AM GMT


    Are they going to perform kyphoplasty, like what's done in an osteoporosis-type vertebra fracture?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 18, 2008 5:17 AM GMT
    Yes. A girl (who was kinda... courting me icon_redface.gif back when I was still in college). She has scoliosis and had surgery. Don't quite know if it was spinal fusion though.

    It didn't seem to affect her much, though she does seem to sit a bit straighter than everybody else (I've never seen her slouch), but that was probably just her, she's a bit headstrong. And very rarely she wears a neck brace for a day.

    As if that wasn't enough. She also had lupus. icon_sad.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 18, 2008 5:20 AM GMT
    I don't remember the name, but its where there insert rods in the spine, clip the tendons and either replace the vertebrae or grind them down to fuse, ones apparently more common...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 18, 2008 5:28 AM GMT


    Now that's sounding more like my cousin; she has marfan, in her case abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis). She's got rods, is now 61 and doing fine, (had a son after a year or so following surgery at 40), though her surgery is 80s stuff, so was cruder than what they do today.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 18, 2008 10:57 AM GMT
    I've had lumbar spinal fusion surgery, but not specifically from the condition that you have. Specifically, an L4 to S1 fusion with Gill laminectomy. I do believe that to some degree a spinal fusion is a spinal fusion. Obviously there are technical differences in the procedure. There are a lot of things to consider with this. I would make sure that you have several opinions before having this done. Also, I would make sure that you have a neurosurgeon do the surgery instead of an orthopedic surgeon. In my opinion and in the opinion of many others that I know that have had back procedures done, the Neurosurgeons seem to take a much more cautious approach and seem to have less collateral damage.

    Why surgery? Is the pain unmanageable? Is there increasing disc degeneration? Is the surgery primarily cosmetic? A lot depends on why as to whether or not it makes sense. Unmanageable pain is a very good reason to have it done. The other reasons only you and your doctor can decide if they really make sense.

    A lot of people have a lot of problems with spine surgeries. Somewhere around 20% of all spinal fusions patients end up with Failed Spinal Surgery Syndrome, lasting pain, increasing disability, and MORE surgeries. I've joked with friends that once they do one they might as well put a zipper in, because most of the time they will be back in there within a few years to a decade. However, this is really no laughing matter. There are tons and tons of things to consider. Many of which, I don't think the doctor's even fully get. One if you drink regularly either quit or don't have the surgery. You are undoing everything you can gain from the surgery with alcohol. If you want me to get into the specifics as to why, there are far more reasons that you would imagine. Two, if you smoke forget it. Smokers have very high rates of non-unions, where the fusion fails to take. More and more surgeons are refusing to do spinal fusions on smoker's. Are you nutritionally sound? Do you take a multivitamin, Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM and Hyaluronic Acid? These supplements have excellent science behind them unlike most. Do you drink at least a gallon of water a day? How strong are you in terms of will, determination, persistence, pain tolerance, determination, etc?

    I can tell you that this procedure is not the end of the world if you are willing to put everything you have into getting through it. However, I will also tell you that the rehabilitation procedure for recovery after the surgery are a complete joke. You may well get to the point where you will have to do some things differently then anything they have done to completely get over it. It wasn't until I fired the whole lot of them, got off all the meds and took my sorry behind back to the gym and started doing some very unconventional things to get over it that it finally got better. I was absolutely determined that this would not make me old before my time. Today I run 50 miles a week, I lift, and I lift heavy, I bike, I hike. In short I live a very active, very high intensity lifestyle, that by text book definition is 100% against all the medical restrictions. But those restrictions had only served to keep me in pain, limited in my function, miserable and unhappy. Just a few things to think about. Should you have any specific questions or if there is anything I can help with let me know. Best of luck to you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 18, 2008 6:08 PM GMT
    I have idiopathic scoliosis - a curvature of the upper spine. When I was 17 I had a Harrington Rod attached to my spine to stop the curve becoming worse than it's 43 degree angle. They grafted bone from my hips onto the rod and spine so that it would fuse and grow around the rod. I was in plaster for a year while the graft healed.

    I think the problem with having that sort of surgery when you are older is that it's far more dangerous and there can be various complications.

    However, my operation was a total success and I never have any back trouble. One thing my consultant warned me against though was doing any weight-lifting that put any stress on the spine so I don't do any thing that could put my spine in danger.

    Have you tried Googling it? There's a wealth of information about scoliosis on the web.

    Why would they need to crack your ribs? I have a scar on my back from where they operated on my spine.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 18, 2008 6:49 PM GMT
    My mother's neck was deliberately broken by my step-father when my mom was in her mid-forties. She had a number of laminectomies and I think at least one fusion procedure done to try to deal with original injury, as well as the debilitating pain that went with it. Each surgery left her with more pain and complications than before, and as a result she ended up addicted to heavy pain medication, from which she eventually died of an overdose. They tell me that I am in need of cervical spine surgery due to arthritis, spurs, and disc degeration, but I won't do it. I am 50 years old, and I figure as long as I stay physically fit and active, my muscles (hopefully) will bolster what my bones can't. My mother was not very active, and I am, so I hope that makes a difference.

    I hope you do well, whatever descision you make.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 18, 2008 6:59 PM GMT
    I had a spinal fusion at the age of 14 (almost 15). I had severe scoliosis that would continued to get worse if there was no intervention. The rod placement is in the lower cervical/thoracic region of my spine. It was a 14 hour procedure that left me with two scars on my back. I have one scar that runs the length of my back and another that that runs transversely (crosswise) on the side of my back.

    The worst part of the surgery was recovery. After being under anesthesia for 14 hours, my face was bloated from all the swelling (that went away...now I'm just fat!icon_biggrin.gif). As far as anything else, I found it hard to eat any "GOOD" solid food. For some reason my jaw wouldn't open all the way, so it was rice and soup for a while.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 18, 2008 7:03 PM GMT
    redheadguy saidI have idiopathic scoliosis - a curvature of the upper spine. When I was 17 I had a Harrington Rod attached to my spine to stop the curve becoming worse than it's 43 degree angle. They grafted bone from my hips onto the rod and spine so that it would fuse and grow around the rod. I was in plaster for a year while the graft healed.

    I think the problem with having that sort of surgery when you are older is that it's far more dangerous and there can be various complications.

    However, my operation was a total success and I never have any back trouble. One thing my consultant warned me against though was doing any weight-lifting that put any stress on the spine so I don't do any thing that could put my spine in danger.

    Have you tried Googling it? There's a wealth of information about scoliosis on the web.

    Why would they need to crack your ribs? I have a scar on my back from where they operated on my spine.


    My surgery was very similar to your surgery. I had bone grafted from my hip to encourage bone growth as well. Although, I wasn't in a cast.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 18, 2008 8:13 PM GMT
    OP, Those posts under hidden/deleted member are me. My account was deleted by accident. icon_biggrin.gif Any questions about the surgery, just ask.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 19, 2008 5:44 AM GMT
    timidpup saidSo I've finally got to the point of back pain (I have Scheuermann's kyphosis that's making the lower curvature worse too) where the only option my orthopedic surgeon will say is surgery... but its a spinal fusion... anyone have any experience/knowledge on the subject? I really can't find anyone thats had the operation or even had upper back surgery... lots of lower back, but thats a way different surgery... no ribs to crack in the process...

    Sorry for shoving this in the standard forum, but lets face it, its the fastest way to get hits, whether or not they make sense...


    I'm assuming this surgery is going to be in the thoracic region (chest area) of your spine? Is that what you mean by kyphosis?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 19, 2008 5:55 AM GMT
    The difference between a fix for scoliosis and a fix for kyphosis is the tendon that is too short that causes kyphosis has to be cut... so they have to go in through the side... and as the curvature gets worse, the pain gets worse, and the lower back curvature is compromised... not only is the bone still wedging, the cartilage is being put under a lot of added pressure...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 19, 2008 6:08 AM GMT
    http://www.spineuniversity.com/scheuermanns_disease if you want to know more about my particular one...