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Thread: Question for Dr. Wise or SCI nurse

  1. #1

    Question for Dr. Wise or SCI nurse

    Hi, was wondering if you have heard of recovery for SCI patients to be longer and harder than another patient experiencing the same ailments, but not suffering from SCI. For instance, does a person with SCI have a longer recovery time from say a kidney infection than someone who has a kidney infection but does not suffer from SCI? Also, is it possible for an SCI patient, after going under general anethesia and surgery, to be back recovery wise to the same point as when the person initially suffered the SCI? Meaning the individual was not able to preform physically tasks/duties that they were able to do prior to the surgery? Any info would be great. Thanks

  2. #2
    Yes, recovery from acute illnesses and surgery can be slower for those with SCI, and yes, they get debilitated faster and more seriously with any bedrest than AB people do. This is made worse by aging as well (for anyone, not just SCI). It will take longer to get back to the same level of independence for someone with SCI if they are weak or debilitated since most everything that you do with a SCI takes more energy and effort than it takes for an AB person to do the same activity.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    I was told that the recovery for thoracic instrumentation removal would be 2-3 weeks. Is that a normal recovery time for an SCI patient undergoing this type of surgery?

  4. #4
    For posterior instrumentation removal, it is common to be in the hospital for 3-5 days, and 3-4 weeks of recovery before you really have your full strength back would be pretty average.

    (KLD)

  5. #5
    Should I have been in a pt facility or program initially following the surgery because I am SCI or is the recovery strickly on my own shoulders after the surgeon preformed the surgery?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse
    Yes, recovery from acute illnesses and surgery can be slower for those with SCI, and yes, they get debilitated faster and more seriously with any bedrest than AB people do. This is made worse by aging as well (for anyone, not just SCI). It will take longer to get back to the same level of independence for someone with SCI if they are weak or debilitated since most everything that you do with a SCI takes more energy and effort than it takes for an AB person to do the same activity.

    (KLD)

    I agree with KLD. The reasons of course can be varied but here are some:
    • Lack of exercise: lower cardiovascular and pulmonary reserve.
    • Low hormones: steroids, testosterone/estrogen, thyroid, parathyroid, etc.
    • Drugs: baclofen, anticholinergic (ditropan), gabapentin, etc.

    Not all or even most people with spinal cord injury are unhealthy, have low hormones, or take drugs that reduce healing. It is possible for people with spinal cord injury to be healthy. Of course, many people who don't have spinal cord injury don't exercise, have low hormones, and take a lot of drugs that retard healing.

    While healing may be slower (particularly bones), older people can and will heal and recover from major surgery. In the 1970's, when I went to medical school, people over 60 years of age were considered too old for cardiac surgery. Today, a majority of people who get such surgery are in their 80's.

    In my opinion, older people and their doctors are too afraid of surgery. For example, I have seen many people and surgeons delay discetomy (removing herniated discs) and decompression surgery because of the fear that they would not recover or heal as well.

    This should not be. If something that is surgically correctable is damaging the body or spinal cord, it is important to weigh the risks and benefits. If the risk of loss of function from not operating is worse or greater than the risk of surgery, the surgery should not be postponed.

    Another consideration is that prolonged inactivity (due to pain or paralysis) may reduce health and ability to recover from surgery. If postponing surgery will lead to months of inactivity, earlier surgery may be a better choice, especially for conditions that are unlikely to improve with time.

    I have a good friend, for example, who is in her 60's and has hip pain. Her doctors have postponed her hip replacement and she has had significantly reduced activity in the past year. I advised her to get her hip replacement surgery sooner rather than later. It is not likely to get better.

    Wise.
    Last edited by Wise Young; 01-16-2007 at 10:35 PM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by 05survivor
    Should I have been in a pt facility or program initially following the surgery because I am SCI or is the recovery strickly on my own shoulders after the surgeon preformed the surgery?
    Responsibility for recovery is always on your shoulders. You are the key to recovery. Physical therapists and rehabilitation programs are only there to help. Recovery takes discipline and hard work. Rehabilitation can help motivate you, provide facilities that make exercising easier, and provide knowledge and advice but the recovery is up to you.

    Wise.

  8. #8
    I just competed in a triatholon as the swimming leg. On a weekly basis I was doing cardio 30- 45 minutes of walking on incline( treadmill and walking trails), stationary bike (no back, just the seat), elliptical, cross-trainer, rowing, swimming 50 - 60 laps twice a week, 1 hour weight training, 1 hour of yoga and pilates, and being able to participate in everyday life with no restrictions whatso ever. Now, I cannot even go to the grocery store. The specialist I saw at UMMC sstated that my injury was such that my bodies natural state was to be inable from injury down, but hard pt for the remainder of my life would allow me to achieve some sort of normalcy but at a much slower pace than was commen for AB. Any truth in that, that you know of?

  9. #9
    What I meant by the pt facility is this, Should the doc have anticipated the fact that I would recover at a much slower rate baceuse I am SCI, and should he have recommended or presricbed pt for it? I had to see a pain management specialist in order to go to a rehab facility to neuro train and strengthen my lower extremeties 1 1/2 months post op. Is that normal for patients who have SCI to just be left on their own after the thoracic removal surgery?

  10. #10
    Also can one develop scoliosis from the harrington removal? Because I have limited use of the right side, my neurologists said that he can feel the curvature (which I did not have before) and that my left side is overcompensating which is the reason he said I am experiencing so much pain on the left side (which also was not present prior to surgery) and ordered x-ray of the thoracic aspine to confirm. ANy insight??

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