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  • Scoliosis 60+ years old

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    Old 03-27-2017, 10:41 AM   #1
    plathfan1
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    Scoliosis 60+ years old

    A dear friend of mine is undergoing scoliosis surgery in a few weeks. She is over 60 years old. They are doing titanium rods and fusing the spine to the pelvis, so there will be no twisting and bending at the hips.

    I want to know what to expect when I see her? I've found info on recovery, but mostly teenagers. How long is the pain, when will she be able to be left alone, how long will it be before life becomes "normal." I feel so bad that she is undergoing this, but I don't want to ask her, because I am trying to focus on getting her mind off of it. But I need to know what to expect for her. Any info you could give would be helpful.

     
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    Old 03-28-2017, 05:28 PM   #2
    teteri66
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    Re: Scoliosis 60+ years old

    Welcome to the board. Your friend's situation must be pretty bad for them to do surgery at this point.

    Do you know how much of the spine will be involved in the surgery? It is difficult to answer your questions without knowing how extensive the fusion will be.

    If she is having the type of surgery I am envisioning, it is a very big surgery and recovery is long and slow. Usually the first 4-6 weeks are difficult even when pain is well-controlled. They usually do not release a patient until she can take care of basic needs--toileting, dressing, etc. and are able to walk up steps if she has steps at her house. Otherwise, the patient is sent to a rehab facility until she can take care of herself.

    I would imagine she will have a brace that she will need to wear when out of bed. This can last for up to about three months. Be sure she is well-stocked with products to prevent constipation--stool softeners, laxative and high fiber snacks and lots of fluids like fruit juices, etc. pain medications and general anesthesia both cause constipation

    I found it very helpful to have a satin bottom sheet for the bed. It is very difficult to reposition yourself after surgery. With a cotton sheet, I felt like I was attached with Velcro to the bed! I suppose slippery pjs might serve the same purpose!

    Your friend can plan on it taking a year before she regains energy and begins to feel somewhat normal. It takes that long for the new bone to grow and set up to the point where it is hard and durable. She will feel very, very tired for the first several months.

    I hope I am giving you the worst case scenario and your friend's surgery won't be as involved as I am guessing. I hope she got several opinions before agreeing to surgery, and knows there are no other options for her. I hope she is going to a doctor who specializes in scoliosis surgeries. Not every spine surgeon is capable of doing this procedure well.

    Good luck.

     
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    Old 03-28-2017, 07:16 PM   #3
    plathfan1
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    Re: Scoliosis 60+ years old

    Thank you! The surgery is from the base of the neck down to the pelvis. She now has a 70 degree curve and the Dr didn't want to discuss the surgery until it reached that point. She has been seeing this doctor for over a decade, he is highly regarded and does these surgeries weekly. I never thought of the satin sheets. So she will be exhausted for a year? I'm so afraid for her and she keeps taking about how her life will never be the same. Even though her body won't be as twisted, her lungs and other organs as squished, the thought that she will never be able to twist, bend over and the fear of pain, is eating her alive.

     
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    Old 04-03-2017, 06:17 AM   #4
    teteri66
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    Re: Scoliosis 60+ years old

    I admit that this situation is far from ideal. I really can't imagine what it will be like to have the entire spine fused. The middle (thoracic) spine won't be noticeable as it doesn't move anyway due to the ribcage, etc. She will learn to compensate and will find new ways to " bend" and move.

    She probably will not be exhausted for a year...but it takes that long for the new bone to set and become hard and firm.

    She is correct that her life will never be the same. However, maybe you can help her see that it wouldn't remain the way it is now with no surgery either as the curve would continue to worsen and would begin to squeeze her internal organs including lungs, etc.

    You might want to take a look at a "Sticky" note at the top of the "Back Problems" message board that is entitled "Post Surgery Tips." It is located right under the yellow Post Question button... just read through some of the posts to see what some people felt was helpful to have or do right after surgery. Most of it is not necessary but it gives you some idea of what the post surgery days will be like.

     
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