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Posted in: Alternative, Scoliosis, and Surgery.

Scoliosis surgery

Started by ahodder on 01/20/2010 5:46pm

My daughter is 17 years old, was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 11 years. We have tried all kinds of treatments for her...chiropractor, physiotherapy, massage, osteopathy, etc... Her curve has stayed the same so now her surgeon is looking at surgery this summer. I am apprehensive about this. The thought of her having rods and fusion is frightening. Wondering if anyone have had the new laser surgery done for scoliosis. This is a new concept for me.Any thoughts?

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3 Responses


My daughter was also diagnosed with scoliosis, at age 10. Her curve reached a 61, and she had the full spinal fusion. She did not have the laser surgery, she has the rods and screws. I do not know how bad of a curve your daughter has, but if it has not moved, progressed in all these years I would not have her have the surgery. Of course I do not know what the degree of her curve is; and that would play a major part in your decision. My daughter had an S curve. If she would not have had the surgery she would have been very crooked, and her spine was turning her ribs into her lungs. Which of course would have caused her lung to be repuctured. I do know that the spine stops growing after a girl has had her menstral cycle for a full year. That is why we waited until our daughter was almost 13 to have it done. It is now 7 months after the operation and she sometimes has lower and upper back pain. But she is getting better every day. She still cannot put on her sox and I had to by her slip on shoes, and I am not sure if she will ever beable to put her sox on. The therapist would like me to get her a tool to help her, but at her young age I feel she will find a way to do it. In the future if she can't then I will get her what she needs. I also have a friend who's daughter had the surgery only on the upper part of her back(thorasic) and she was up and fine in 2 months. Unfortunately my dauther needed the full fusion. It has been nothing short of a nightmare for her recovery, but like I said she is progressing everyday. Right now she is at her first swim meet! Which I consider a miracle! She is a advid swimmer and has many medals from competitions. Good luck, and PRAY about your decision.


I'm a 32 yr old female. When I was 12 I was diagnosed with Scoliosis. When I was 13 I had to wear a brace for about 14 months. When I was 14 my spine was up to a 50 degree curve and was starting to twist. 2 weeks into my summer break between between 7th and 8th grade, I had surgery to correct things. A few months before surgery, I had to donate a few pints of my own blood for the surgery to help eliminate rejection and shock on my already stressed body during the process. They opened my back up from the base of my neck down to the top of my buttox. I recieved a Harrington Rod. Bone from my hip was scraped to help fuse the hardware in place. I don't remember what vertabra it starts and ends at but basicly my neck is free and a couple vertabra is free by my tailbone. Almost my full back has been fused. It was an 8 hour surgery and I grew 3 inches taller because so much of the curve had been corrected.

It's an ugly, hard, long surgery to recover from. I had to stand up 24 hours after surgery because I was so bloated with fluids. I was in pain, scared, paranoid. I was hospitalized for about a week. When I got home, for a few weeks my mom had to help with showers because I wasn't very flexable and I would tire very quickly. I highly recommend a shower chair and a shower nosel with a hose to make it easier.

About 2 months after surgery I had to return to school. For a few months I would still tire quickly and would have to go home early some days. I had some muscle pain while my body adjusted to things. I also couldn't lift heavy items. Half way through the school year I was just fine. I'd say my recovery time was about 6 months from start to finish.

Complications I have today would be some lower back pain. All of my bodies movement rest on my lower few vertabra that are free to move. Also a lot of nerves have had to rebuild and repair from the incision. I have some odd sensations on my skin. For example one spot I touch could feel numb or I can feel the touch in a slightly different location, like the sensation has been relocated.

Physical therapy can help minimize pain, eliminate it, or even help to prevent it in the future. Legs and abdominal are key areas. I admit I'm really lazy and don't do them at all AND I'm about 50lbs over weight so I sometimes need Motrin and a heat pad to help with muscle spasims. BUT they only happen when I push myself harder than usual.

Over all, I'm very happy. I can bend and put on my socks. I have perfect posture at all times. I'm 98% of the time pain free. Only down side is I can't tuck and roll like a gymnest or ride a roller coaster that goes backwards. If I had to make the choice to do it again, I would.

I also believe the younger the person, the better. If you're daughter is only 17, she could go through with all the recovery before starting college and moving on with her life and having obligations she may not be able to get away from for a period of time. Now would not be an inconveniance to her life where it might be later.

I currently have a friend who is in her 30's who also has Scoliosis, but she also has Lumber Spondylosis. She's in a lot of pain and could possibly end up in a wheel chair in about 20 years from nerve damage and her spine curving in on her. She has 2 kids one of which is 2yrs old and her husband is military and gone for long periods of time. Surgery for her is a very hard subject for her to think about because of how difficult it's going to be. At the moment she's on a lot of medication just to manage her pain.

Good luck in your decision and I hope I was able to help one way or the other. Feel free to ask me anything! I've been there, done it, I might have some sort of insight I can provide.

As for the laser surgery option, I don't know anything about it. From a few little things I've seen, it looks a lot less tramatic, smaller incisions which I think would cut healing time down a lot. Though it seems limited to a specific curve. If someone doesn't meet that ideal situation that option may not be available. If I had that option I would have deffinately gone that route. Less tramatic the better for a faster healing time.