For the first time, Princess Eugenie shared X-rays of her scoliosis surgery. However, it would have helped if she had discussed more of living life post-op. Is daily living hunky-dory? Is she really OK now?
It is common knowledge that any surgery has its own complications and contraindications. Moreso scoliosis surgery as it is more complex, invasive and time-consuming than normal spine surgeries. And sadly, it is not the cure for scoliosis.
However, it could be life-saving in severe cases where the curve is too extensive that it could compress the lungs and heart and thus affect their function.
Risks of Scoliosis Surgery
Studies show the many risks of scoliosis surgery, though as of today with better technology surgery does tend to be safer and the outcomes are better. However, there is always the frightening prospect of paralysis due to spinal cord damage. Then there is the extensive loss of blood which is usually compensated by the patient donating his or her own blood prior to surgery.
Additional risks of scoliosis fusion surgery are implant failure, nerve damage, and infection.
Further, due to the rods and screws in the spine, any impact or injury can cause internal bone bruising, which takes a long time to heal.
How is the Pain?
Many people who have surgery do become straighter. But in many cases, surgery does nothing to ease the pain. The pain will never go away 100%. That does not mean that in all cases post-fusion patients suffer from pain.
There are a lucky few who do live pain-free lives. They are the ones who have good emotional support and who have learned to tackle the anxiety in their lives.
One should not lose hope and believe pain is a life-long sentence. A patient who was trapped for 18 Years from pain post scoliosis fusion was able to get rid of her pain by addressing the emotional issues in her life. I have no doubt that back pain and stress levels are interconnected.
What About Flexibility?
Most patients who have had spinal fusion end up having limited flexibility for the rest of their lives. There are some who feel they are better off post-fusion in terms of bending and sitting. Everyone is different, again here the support and our perspective about life helps one manage one’s limitations and overcome any challenges.
Princess Eugenie credits her older sibling Princess Beatrice for her recovery.
Choosing What’s Best For You
Today there are so many options for scoliosis besides fusion. One more recent surgical options which are less invasive is Vertebral Body Tethering – VBT.
Then there is the Schroth Method which is a non-surgical principle of scoliosis treatment using scoliosis-specific exercise based on curve-pattern.
As for my own healing of scoliosis, I am convinced that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) cause scoliosis and by healing my emotional issues I have been able to reduce my spinal curvature.
Most parents balk at the insinuation that they are the cause of their child’s scoliosis. Nevertheless, even the best parents don’t realize how their best intentions are not what makes a child feel good about themselves.
When one is supported, cherished and one can express oneself freely without fear or ridicule one feels free to soar. Our spine is the backbone of our core selves. When we feel misattuned and disconnected from our family and loved ones. We feel pain. Suppressing our emotional pain affects our sensitive mind-body system.
Patients often seem to put in less time making a decision about proceeding with surgery than they do doing the research on buying a car. Do your homework, get a second opinion, find a competent doctor through personal recommendation. You should be in control of your life, the choices should be yours finally. Whether to opt for surgery or not?
Because once done there is no going back. And, sadly most patients who opt for surgery end up having more than one surgery.
Please weigh your choices before making the decision to go under the knife. Don’t let celebrity success stories influence your choices in life-altering decisions.