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  • difficulty in straightening thoracic spine 7 months lumbar fusion

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    Old 01-24-2015, 03:58 PM   #1
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    Smile difficulty in straightening thoracic spine 7 months lumbar fusion

    7 months ago I had my first spine surgery and hopefully my last. I turned 57 last July, was an RN for almost 35 years. When I was 19 and a student nurse, on my physical exam the Dr. found I had scoliosis (right curve) of thoracic spine. I went to a specialist and curve measured 23 degrees. Dr. told my mom it wouldn't progress, now this was 1979. Fast forward to 2001 I was having increased LBP, xrays showed lumbar curve 45 degrees. By 2009 and still working had MRI of lumbar, had levoscoliosis (curve to the left). I did all the conservative tx: NSAIDS, PT, exercising. In mid 2012 I retired. While I continued to work, and did all the conservative treatments (even steroid injection), my spine had had enough. I had developed a compensatory lumbar scoliosis, osteophytes, ddd, vertebral and facet arthritis, stenosis, sciatic pain and ligamentum flavum hypertrophy. I went to an orthopedic surgeon and he recommended surgery. I wasn't ready for surgery, so I went to a orthopedic surgeon, and a neurosurgeon for their opinions. I went with the neuro, because he had the most experience. So I am doing a lot better each day, and month. I had XLIF (fusion) of L3-S1, laminectomy L3-L4, scoliosis curve straightened with hardware T10-S1 and pelvic anchors. I had to wear a TLSO brace for 4 1/2months while up. I am happy with my surgeon and results. I am free of LBP, sciatic pain that radiated down to left great toe. I am glad I had the surgery, but at 3 weeks post-op I really was questioning my decision. I was having terrible muscle spasms on movement and breathing, no muscle relaxer helped. I was still on Vicodin, and I just prayed to the good Lord above that I had done the right thing. At 5 months and x-rays shows fusion is doing well I started P.T. I told them that I felt I couldn't stand up straight, that my upper back was bending forward. It stills bothers me. I don't know if it will get better closer to my year post-op or should I have rods removed. I don't feel right. I feel like I'm the "hunchback of Notre Dame". I also am very busty 38DD. I've thought of having a breast reduction, Dr. said to wait a year. I don't know if my insurance would cover it. If I could stand up straight (with out forcing myself) and with ease, I would definitely be 100% normal again. Has anyone else experienced this?
    Thanks, Galaxiegirl.

    Last edited by rjshort; 01-24-2015 at 05:08 PM. Reason: 7 months post lumbar fusion;title-Difficulty

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    Old 01-24-2015, 09:42 PM   #2
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    Re: difficulty in straightening thoracic spine 7 months lumbar fusion

    Welcome to the board.

    Do you know for a fact your thoracic spine is bending forward as you describe or does it just feelli,e you are walking hunched forward?

    What happens when you lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor?

    It can take quite awhile after a fusion for all the soft tissue, muscles and nerves to get accustomed to their new position and new structural alignment, etc. I would think, with the addition of the rods to correct for the scoliosis, that this process might take even longer.

    Just wearing a brace for that long would require a longer period of adjustment, as the muscles will have atrophied from lack of use, and it takes awhile to regain that muscle strength.

    Of course, it is always possible that when the surgeon made the corrections for the scoliosis and attempted to change the curve he didn't get it quite right.

    Old 01-24-2015, 10:50 PM   #3
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    Re: difficulty in straightening thoracic spine 7 months lumbar fusion

    Regarding the breast reduction, I have a coworker who had it done a couple of years ago. She did manage to get insurance to pay for it by having documentation from her Dr regarding how it negatively impacted her health. When she was young, she was a competitive skier and broke many bones and had several surgeries. She said the breast reduction was the worst in terms of pain and recovery. I would second the recommendation to wait until you are pretty well healed from the spine surgery which seems like it was a pretty enormous surgery. Good Luck!

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