Thursday, July 24, 2014


Idiopathic Scoliosis-
 Idiopathic means there is no definite cause for the disease. It is a condition where a child's spine curves abnormally side-to-side. The spine is also rotated or twisted pulling the ribs along with it.


The picture represented above was very indicative of a milder look at what my daughter had prior to surgery in May. 

My daughter was diagnosed with scoliosis in June of 2013 while being treated in physical therapy for a pelvis avulsion fracture caused from competitive cheer. When her therapist noticed it and sent us to have it looked at, the news was devastating, as her degree of severity at the time showed 2 curves measuring 36 degrees. To put it into perspective, 7 degrees is the cutoff for a true scoliosis diagnosis. We were seen again in September and luckily it had not progressed, but sometime during that month into October, she began complaining of terrible back pain and spasms. Although she was not to see her spine specialist again until this month, we got her in again in early December 2013. The results came back worse with the top curve increasing to 43 degrees. At this time she was fitted for a Boston Brace which she received the day after Christmas with an order to wear it 23 hours a day. This has not been easy for this very active 13 year old! 

Around this time, I was introduced to  a spine surgeon at Shriner's Hospital in Philadelphia who over the past 10 years has perfected a fusion-less spinal surgery that has less complications and quicker recovery time then the traditional spinal fusion surgery discussed with us. We traveled to Philadelphia to meet with the surgeon who ordered many x-rays, and after consulting with his team, we received news that she was a candidate for two different surgeries. So we received good news amongst some bad news. In early February, she developed a cervical curve as well, and had three curves total. They measured at that time, from the top down, 25.1 (cervical), 57.3 (thoracic), and 38.1 (lumbar). 

The first surgery was to consist of a half spinal fusion to fuse thoracic vertebraes T2-T12 later changed to T4-T12. They would let her begin to heal in the hospital for about a week to ten days before her second scheduled surgery. This one would have been a half vertebral body tethering (fusion-less) on her lumbar spine. Her time in the hospital was to be right at three weeks. We are grateful that it turned out not to be! The upper spine was not only curved but twisted inward. It was the hope that fusing the top part of her spine would allow the bottom to straighten out. And during the surgery that is exactly what happened!!

Here is what we were looking at during the beginning of 2014!! 
The darkened area is the twisted part of her spine.

There is a lot more to this story..... to be continued.