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February 16, 2007

R.J.'s Scoliosis Story

By: R.J.
Age: 14

I was 11 when we found out that I had scoliosis. It was during a scoliosis check that they found it. It was just a small curvature but it was significant enough to where they had me go see a specialist.

A year later it had increased so much that we had me go into chiropractic care with Dr. Shelby of Shelby chiropractic. They had me doing exercises and traction. The traction started out with a contraption that made me get flushed and feeling really hot but after a while we stopped doing chiropractic for about 3-4 months and went back to it and by then he had a new way of approaching the scoliosis traction, instead of having me standing up he had me lying down.

But since we had stopped for so long the scoliosis had progressed so rapidly, to 56 degrees, that it could not be stopped, only slowed down a tiny bit. So we went back to the specialist and she said that the only way to correct it would be surgery, and that not even a brace could stop it.

After she said the word surgery I almost collapsed with fear. I had had surgery a year or two before hand.

So after about 6 months I finally had the surgery. I had to have 9 discs taken out of my back, I had a chest tube, and they had to remove a rib to get in through my front. When I awoke I felt so bad, and man was I in pain!

I was in the hospital for a week and then at my aunt's for another week because she is a nurse. She took real good care of me and even changed my dressings so well that when I went to get my staples taken out, my doctor told me that whoever was changing my dressings was doing an excellent job. My curvature went from 81 degrees to 35 degrees. My curve was the worst I had ever heard of. I went to a lot of websites about other people's surgeries and the largest curvature I had seen was 50-60 degrees.

I am feeling so much better now that the surgery is done and over with. I'm still on like 5 different pain meds but I'm in a lot less pain. I hope my story helps other people who are going to have the surgery done on themselves.

Posted by anonymous at 4:22 AM | Comments (7)

August 15, 2006

VEPTR Instead of Fusion for Congenital Scoliosis

Congenital scoliosis, a severe and often life-threatening form of scoliosis, is often treated with spinal fusion to prevent it from getting worse, but that causes its own set of problems. Fusion prevents the spine from growing further. When done on very young children, this lack of spinal growth doesn't leave enough room for the heart and lungs as they continue to grow normally.

A new device called a Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib, or VEPTR, straightens out the spine while still allowing it to grow. Dr. John Blanco is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and has been working with the new device and speaks about a recent surgery he performed on a young girl:

“It consists of 2 rings of metal that encircle either one rib or 2 ribs above where the deformity is,” says Dr. Blanco. "And at some point she will need an operation to stop the growth of her spine, but she’s way too young for it right now."

New Spinal Device Changes Children's Lives
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Posted by Staff at 5:44 PM | Comments (62)

August 8, 2006

Watching for Late-onset Scoliosis in Teens

Scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, can strike as early as age five but usually shows itself in adolescence. It is more common in girls. Doctors, families, and schools need to watch for it as the child grows. Treatment depends on the severity of the curve and can include surgery, a brace, "watchful waiting", or a new procedure called stapling.

Late-onset idiopathic scoliosis -- or LIS -- is the most common form of the disease and is generally diagnosed after the age of 10. The condition, which has no known cause other than genetics, affects 3 percent of children between the ages of 8 and 16, and about 60,000 teens in the United States.
Scoliosis Not Just a Problem for the Elderly

Posted by laura at 12:07 PM | Comments (33)


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