Pedicle Subtraction Osteotomy

I'm new here and found this thread. I'm facing pedicle subtraction osteotomy. I've been fused from S1-L3 since 1999. The thoracic portion of my back has developed kyphosis, don't know the degrees, I have degenerative bone disease and stress fractures. I'm 70 years old. I want the surgery to help straighten me up. I can't breathe while walking, my neck is suffering because of having to bend it to look where I'm going. The surgeon I'm seeing gives me confidence in his decision and ability. I looking for insight about what I'm facing with this new surgery. He will be putting in the screws and a cage. He will fuse S1 to L1, after removing the 20 year old hardware. Then use a cage from there to T3, I think he said. He also said, "you won't like this but I'm going to put screws in your pelvis to stabilize everything". What has been some of your experiences with this massive surgery? Recovery time, to at least manageable pain? What will my body move like afterwards? Do you bend again? I bend now from my waist with no problems. Any answers will be helpful. I don't have a date yet, waiting on insurance approval. Thank you!



  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 3,414
    edited 07/23/2019 - 1:08 PM

    welcome to spine health
    all new members should take the system tutorial

    i am so sorry you are having to go through this. i am your age and was facing a similar surgery not long ago. but due to other health conditions, and after 3 opinions, i am not a candidate for surgery. i was wanting the same thing, being straight again and out of some of the pain. so i can understand you wanting this surgery.
    we have had several members that have had long fusions so i'm sure they will be replying. when you have a date please let us know. when you know what month, you can join surgery buddies. go there and take a look around at how members support each other. plus all of the articles that will be so helpful.

    take care and keep posting, letting us know how you are doing.

  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 844

    hi bonbubbin1949!

    so is your doctor going to fuse you T3 through S1?  or just put cages into T3 and fuse you L1-S1?  Or cages from T3 to L1 and then fuse L1-S1?  sorry, i'm just being dense right now....

    i had T10 to S2 with pelvic screws done in 2016.  you will not be able to bend at the waist if they go to L1 or T12....or anywhere above that.  However, you will be still able to bend at the hip.  and that's how i do it....bend at the hip and knees.  if i need to pick something up from the floor i squat, and if i have to get closer that that, i just kneel on the ground.  it's actually not as limiting as i though it would be before surgery.  However, you will not be able to twist either, except at the top of your fusion, and that is a bit limiting, for instance i cannot look behind me without turning around.  it just doesn't things like checking the blind spot while driving is a bit challenging until you figure out how to move again.  i use my mirrors a lot more now, but i can shift myself enough on the seat to shoulder check safely.  i cannot reach around behind me to grab something just quickly off the counter etc-i have to turn moving my feet.  but honestly, i got used to it so fast, i don't really notice it much-with one notable exception-trying to get behind a couch or grab something that fell on the floor under the table LOL.  i can't contort myself anymore to fit into awkward places, like the corner cabinet beside the stove LOL.  i just let my hubby do that now. 

    i also do not notice my pelvic screws unless i've done a lot of picking things up off the ground/floor.  then they ache some....but i haven't really noticed those too much.  it does give a lot more stability to the post that is now in my back from S2 through does mean that i cannot lean to the side, twist or bend at the waist.   it really is a learning curve about how to move after surgery.  the best thing i could come up with was putting a broom handle along my back from my hips to my shoulderblades (that's a little higher than i'm fused, but would by right for T3 level) and then trying to move without the handle leaving your back.  that will give you some idea of what it will be like. 

    as for recovery time....the longest part was the first 6 months for me.  pain got better about 3 months and then slowly since.  i'm just over 2 years and i can tell i'm still healing....and i can still easily overdo it in a day.  it's not a short recovery.  you will need help with basically everything for the first 2-3 weeks.  it's an irritatingly long, slow recovery, and the worst for me was the mental part-staying patient and letting the body heal!

    anything we can help with, happy to try!!!!

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  • Hello bonnubbin

    Do you know at which level you will have the PSO? I am also facing this surgery. I am somewhat younger than you but was told to expect horrible pain in the first week and recovery around six months. 

  • I'm so thankful to all of you who have offered your information and advice. I now have a date, March 29! Wow! That is so far out. But they had to get all surgeons onboard and I guess these are busy guys! So I'm .waiting! They will go from my previous fusion at S1 to L3. From there they are going to T2 or 3 with the cage and screws. Still putting screws in my pelvis also. I'm not sure what that is for. I look forward to talking with anyone who has been through this! Bonnie

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