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    Old 07-04-2005, 07:41 PM   #1
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    Anyone in there 20's or younger and had surgery?

    Is there anyone that has had surgery in there 20's or even younger and had back surgery? How was you recovery? What did your doctor say about your age? What type of surgery did you have? Were you told that you might need more surgery later in life?

    I am still trying to figure out if I should have surgery or not. I am only 21. I was prepared that I will most liket get surgery, but my second opinion told me not to. One doctor stated that I will be fine and another doctor stated that he will not do the surgery because of my age. He said that there is nothing else that I could do to relieve the pain, but he won't do surgery. I am now so confused.

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    Old 07-04-2005, 08:35 PM   #2
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    Re: Anyone in there 20's or younger and had surgery?

    My daughter is 16 and just had back surgery 3 1/2 weeks ago. I think her situation is much different than your's if I recall from your previous posts. My daughter was born with congenital spondylolisthesis (slipped disc) and spinal stenosis. She had been seeing a pediatric ortho for the past five years. She had bad leg and back pain the past two years. Her dr tried many non-surgical methods to relieve her pain. In June of '04 was the first time he suggested surgery. We actually had a surgery date scheduled. At that point I sought the opinion of two other pediatric orthos. Each concurred that surgery was in her future. Each surgeon had their own suggestion of how the surgery should be done, but they all said fusion. I did ask about ADR, but I was told because of the spondy she wasn't a candidate for that. If I recall you have had more than one opinion. We were lucky that all had the same opinion. We decided to try bracing and postpone surgery last summer.

    When the fusion was explained to us, her dr definately informed us that it may put stress on her other levels and additional surgery or treatment may be needed later in life. He is hoping she will get 20 to 30 years out of this surgery. But since we were seeing pediatric drs, they never really said no surgery because of her age. This condition is pretty rare and her dr had only done about 5 of these for spondy. We decided when bracing failed and her feet began tingling in Jan., surgery needed to be done. It was decided we would do the surgery now in hope that she could get part of her life back. She has been out of all sports and unable to do most things that 16 year olds do. We were lucky that we were able to put it off until she was out of school in June. Her pediatric ortho and his adult spine partner performed a two level TLIF (fusion), laminectomy and discectomy on June 10th.

    Her surgery was on a Friday and she was in pediatric ICU one day. She was moved to the ped unit on Saturday and released on Tuesday. I do have to say that her first week post-op was really rough, but not because of pain it was because of the nausea. It may have been from the codene in the lortabs, but it started while she was still on the morphine pac. So she really didn't eat for a week and we tried compasizne at home. Pain really wasn't an issue with her. She stopped taking any type of pain meds about ten days post-op. She woke up at home eight days post-op on Sat morning and said, "I feel great!" She began eating and walking the neighborhood. They had her sit up the first day after surgery and walking on her own the second day. Her PTs used no walkers or canes with their ped patients. They said they didn't come in with one so they weren't leaving with one. She did really well.

    Since that day she has progressed super. We try to walk three times a day. She's walking more than 1/2 mile at a time. Now that her dr. let her leave the house, we're walking the malls during the hot part of the day. If she gets tired we sit and have a snack. I am shocked at how wonderfully she is doing. She has had one post-op apt and doesn't go back until the second week of Aug.

    Sorry this post is so long. I just tried to answer some of your questions. I can't really give you an opinion if you should have the surgery or not since your conditions are different. My daughter's dr just kept telling me that kids heal faster and I now know he was right. Have you thought about getting another opinion? I know it's a really hard decision to make. As you see it took us a year to finally decide. We wish you the best with this really difficult decision. If we missed answering any questions, just let me know.

    Last edited by caszyman; 07-04-2005 at 08:37 PM.

    Old 07-04-2005, 09:59 PM   #3
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    Re: Anyone in there 20's or younger and had surgery?

    Hi girl12345,

    I know surgery can be a very difficult decision to make, especially at such a young age. I am 25 year old female, and am probably going to have my 4th back surgery soon. I am one of the cases that stumps my doctors as to why my back keeps getting re-injured after my surgeries. So having one surgery at your age will not necessarily mean that you will then end up having more like me.

    Let me tell you a little bit about my past. When I was 16 I first started having back pain from volleyball. It was relieved for a little while by a couple of epidural injections. By the time I was 22, I could not deal with the pain any more. I was having pain on and off the whole time since I was 16, but I realized that I could not live my life this way anymore. So I went back to my spinal specialist. Got new MRIs and saw that my L4-5 was again/still herniated. I had more injections that did not work, as well as PT and all that jazz. Well, the pain started going down my leg with numbness and tingling. My surgeon, who I very much so trust, decided that I needed surgery. He is conservative too, so he did not just want me to have it for business, lol. Plus, when you have nerve pain and symptoms, which I think you have said in another post, it is not good to have them for a prolonged period of time because of permanant damage. He ended up giving me a microdiscectomy when I was 23. I woke up with immediate relief. It was done outpatient and I went home the same day. The recovery is only a couple months too, but the worst of it is only about a week or two. I happened to reherniate two weeks after though, coughing standing up. I again reherniated last year and just had my 3rd microdiscectomy in April but now have spine instablility and a tear in the disc above as well as ddd on 3 levels, which I had at 16 too.

    I am sorry my post is so long. I just wanted to let you know that there are other young people out there who are experiencing pain like you at such a young age. I would recomend surgery to you, but not necessarily a fusion because you are so young. Although I know fusion was the right choice for caszyman's daughter, but she had a different type of injury. There are many different procedures coming out all the time. You may quailfy for ADR since you just have one injured disc. Also my surgeon is considering doing a new procedure called dynesys on me, which is screws and a flexable rod that is used to stabilize the spine without fusion. Right now my surgeon is reviewing my discogram results from friday and will let me know what surgery I should have now, but he does not want to do a fusion since i am so young, unless it is absolutely necessary. You should not go on having the nerve pain, because that can cause permanent damage. I think it is actually an advantage for us being young and going through procedures like these because we heal so much faster, than if we were older. I wish you lots of luck, and hope you find out the right thing for you. Sorry again for the long post and I hope it was not to confusing, as I just took my pain meds and am a little jumbled. If you have anymore questions for me or if you want to chat, let me know and I will do all that I can.


    Old 07-04-2005, 11:53 PM   #4
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    Re: Anyone in there 20's or younger and had surgery?


    when i was 16 i started having bad low back pain. i went to the chiropractor for about 3 months before i was sent for an MRI by my doctor. i had a herniated disc at L5-S1. i tried physical therapy, 7 epidural steriod injectoins, water therapy, massage therapy, etc. i continued playing high school basketball until i my legs forgot how to walk b/c of the nerve compression. i decided to have a laminect/disect. in jan. 2004. that surgery failed a month out so i switched doc. i just recently had surgery this past jan. i had the same surgery by a different doctor. i feel great. yes i was told i was young, but i could barely move and i was afraid of the long term effects. i dont regret having surgery b/c of how much pain i was in, but it does suck to have to have it at such a young age. i am still feeling great from my previous surgery, except for some mid back pain i have been experiencing. i do think you are the only one who can decide if you need surgery not. i believe all doctors are different and you made a good choice by gettin more than one opinion.


    Old 07-05-2005, 07:06 AM   #5
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    Smile Re: Anyone in there 20's or younger and had surgery?

    Unless there is an very urgent need or an unusual condition surgery at a young age should always be the very last choice. I also have had back problems from my teen years. When I was young there was no micodisc surgery and no doctor would operate on you for DDD. I endured my back attacks for 20 years before any surgery was done and then L4-S1 was fused. I was totally disabled prior to my surgery (never had more than a few days without being back in bed unable to move)

    As other posters have indicated nerves do regenerate but it often takes a couple of years for things to settle down. I was always monitored by a orthopedic specialist. When I first saw him he also said that I was too young for surgery and he was right.

    I finally had surgery when I was 38 years. Complications ensued as they always can (hemmoraghing and high fever) however rare. My recovery was extremely slow and I was pretty much bedridden for 4 months. It took a full year for the spasm to go out of my back. I got 6 years of less pain and then a MRI showed that the 3 levels above were going and daily sciatica pain returned. It is 22 yrs since my fusion (yes I am an old I am disabled with nerve pain and damage.

    Fusions should be reserved for the most extreme cases! They basically weaken the spine and adjoining levels are put under a heavy load. Simple microdiscectomy is another matter but then you may not even be a good candidate for that. I am 61 now with a totally disabled back but I had my surgery at 38. If you do the math having surgery young means problems down the road at a younger age.

    Discs are comprised mostly of a gel like substance in the inner core (mostly water). They do get reabsorbed into the body so even large herniations can shrink dramatically in size. Another words with time you may start to feel a lot better even without surgery. Just make sure that you continue to be monitored by a reliable physician who has your best interests at heart.
    Pooby Gal

    Last edited by pooby; 07-05-2005 at 07:13 AM.

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