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Full Fusion due to Curvature

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,002
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Scoliosis
Well ...... As of March 08 I had a 38 degree Curvature in my Lumbar Spine, The Ortho Doc wants to do a Full Fusion ... Top to Bottom !!! It's a wicked surgery. He said I would lose about 45% of my mobility Plus The Spine would be obviously fused ( no more bending )Complete with rods and screws.
My Gosh !! This is just terrible. I am 57 years old with several back issues ( OA, plus 2 herniated Disc ) just simply a mess.
Is there anything I can do to slow this curving process down ? I can actually feel the spine as it is moving ribs etc out of it's way as it curves.
I'm just really upset about the whole deal.
Any suggestions ? Anyone else know of someone who has had a Full Fusion ??

Blessings to all


  • My understanding was surgery was done for curves 50% plus. Why would he fuse your whole spine for a lumbar spine curve?
  • I think for such extensive surgery you should get more Neuro opinions. That's alot to think about I wish I could help but I haven't had surgery or fusion. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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  • I am fused 9 levels. I don't bend, twist, etc. It was a brutal ordeal. it is one year and my 22 screws are giving me a run for my money. definatley get several opinions. I did not want to be stareing at my toes permantly. I am 52, and would be glad to talk to you. my email is
  • I had a full fusion t2-l5 at age 26, due to a progressive s curve of 67 degrees. It had progressed 20 degrees in 5 years. If I had it to do over again I would wait until I was crawling around the house on my stomach, before I would having the fusion. The pain and problems of before the fusion are nothing to the nightmare I have had afterwards. I know the pain for you is bad now and I am sure there are other people with positive experiences of total fusion.....but you can't go back. I would do EVERYTHING possible to cope with the pain you have now and wait until you are on your death bed before having a total fusion.

    PS-you could have a lumbar fusion and maybe lessen your pain but I would not let anyone fuse you above your lumbar spine.

    I wish you very well!
  • Thanks so much for all of the wonderful comments.... I've had some computer problems , so I haven't checked in for a while ... (Thanks for listening to me Wendy !!)
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  • I had a 2 day, 28 hour surgery to correct my scoliosis in March of this year. It was brutal! I had several complications, the worst of which is a foot drop due to damage to the sciatic nerve. After 4 months & some therapy, it has not improved. I am getting an AFO (leg brace) next week. I have been real down about it but everyone tells me I should be grateful now that my back is straight!
    Supposedly, my surgery was a terrific success & in many ways, I know it was. I had an 87 degree curve at T-7 & am now 4" taller! BUT, I am still wearing a 10 lb plastic brace & living with this during the summer in South Florida has not been fun to say the least. Everyone tells me to be patient, that I am still healing from this HUGE surgery.
    I am almost off of narcotic meds after about 12 years which has been really tough. Now I am extremely depressed & hardly leave my bed. I thought the stiffness & inability to bend was temporary but after reading some of the comments, I am not so sure.
    I won't go on forever, although I could, but am hoping to get some support here. I live alone & have no support from family. Any feedback would be helpful!
  • another opinion or two is warranted in your case, Rich. But you need to see an orthopedic surgeon who specialises in scoliosis.

    I had a 68 degree thoracic curve but had only moderate pain. I am now fused T4 - pelvis. My surgeon does two of these surgeries a week and is brilliant. I've had no post-surgery problems other than a drug dependency when getting off Oxycontin. I'm nearly 5 months post op and doing almost everything I did prior to surgery. I guess I am lucky but I put my success down to surgeon's skills.

    Would I do it again? Absolutely! The loss of flexibility is an easy trade-off. The only thing I can't do is cut my own toenails and I struggle a bit shaving my legs, but I have a loving partner who's happy to do these things for me.

    Fusion with instrumentation isn't always brutal but if you do go with this surgery, my suggestion is to choose your surgeon carefully and get as fit as you possibly can pre-op. Good luck!
  • I just finished reading your post. I'm sorry you had to go through this without support from family. My surgeon specifically asked the question about post-op support. It's so important. No wonder you feel depressed.

    Try to think of how you felt when you first came home, and compare it with how you feel now. You say you are almost off narcotics after 12 years. This would indicate success to me and something that should thrill you, except that you are depressed. Please see your doctor and try to get help with that. Perhaps it's your depression that's more debilitating than your post-surgery spine?

    I hope you can get some help because if you can get off all meds after 12 years, this is really a wonderful achievement. Good luck!
  • but Foxy, you really NEED to get outside and walk. Walking is the best thing you can do for yourself post op. It loosens up your back and the fresh air and sunlight lifts your spirits. I wish I was nearby, I'd come get you and walk with you. Please try.
  • Hope you got my PM. Thanks for the words of encouragement! I have come a long way! Going to get OUT of the house today & into the pool (weather permitting). Have a good day!
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