Sunday, September 30, 2007

Andrea's Adolescent Kyphosis Surgery Story

Andrea emailed me her story and some photos about her experience with kyphosis surgery earlier this year for me to share with you on the Blog.
Kyphosis is much less well known in the general public, and among many pediatricians and other primary care providers and OB/GYN physicians.  It can be more difficult to pick up on school or physician screenings since there is no “scoliometer”-type tool to help quantify the amount of kyphotic curvature.

Improving self-image and appearance can have a HUGE effect on the life of a teenager and adult as well.
What a joy it is to see Andrea transformed, and enjoying life at a new level — an impact which will have an effect for many decades to come!

Lloyd A. Hey, MD MS
Hey Clinic for Scoliosis and Spine Surgery
Raleigh, NC  USA


Before I met Dr. Hey, I had pain in my lower back all the time. The pain got so bad that I quit playing sports, stopped going shopping, and just laid around all of the time. This was especially not good because with having Type I diabetes I needed to be exercising and I just couldn’t; I hurt so badly. I went to several doctors, trying to get an answer to my problem. Each doctor told me the same thing: I had a mild form of scoliosis and all I could do for it was conservative treatment, meaning pain pills, pain pills, and more pain pills. I even tried physical therapy and that did nothing for me. One doctor even wanted me to try anti-depressants because he said that might help. I wasn’t depressed, I just wanted help. It seemed like no one believed me about how bad my back pain really was. Then, I met Dr. Hey.

At my first appointment, Dr. Hey took x-rays of my back. When I came back to look at the x-rays he found that not only did I have scoliosis, but I had kyphosis and a degenerative disc, too, and that was the main cause of my back pain. He told me that the scoliosis, being only an 8 degree curve at the top and a 12 degree curve at the bottom, was not what was causing my problems. Dr. Hey said that my kyphosis was so severe, being an 80 degree curve, that the only solution to stopping the pain would be to have surgery. It almost seemed surreal. After going to all of the other doctors too many times to remember, I couldn’t believe Dr. Hey knew exactly what was wrong after two visits and that surgery would fix me right up.

I had surgery on December 21, 2006. Dr. Hey put two titanium rods in my back making me noticeably taller right after surgery. I was able to use my insulin pump while having my surgery to keep my glucose numbers stable. He told my mom and dad that when he first opens the back, the spine is supposed to relax, but mine didn’t because my kyphosis was so bad. Dr. Hey said a special prayer for me and eventually my spine relaxed. By the next day, I was up walking and within four days, I was back home ready to spend Christmas with my family.

The next month was difficult having to depend on someone to help me all of the time. I started to doubt having had the surgery because the pain I had healing almost didn’t seem worth it. Once I got through that first month, things started to get better. I started going back to school the full day, I started driving again, and I was feeling and looking a lot better.

It has been nine months since I had my surgery and having that surgery was the best decision I have ever made. I go shopping, go to basketball games, and have even been to the beach and been out to the ocean all without hurting and having to leave early from the pain. I went to my first prom and had the time of my life pain free. I no longer walk with my head pointed towards the ground and a hunched over back. Dr. Hey really changed my life and I can not say thank you enough to him for making me feel normal. He is a true miracle worker and I feel I have certainly had a miracle happen to me. THANK YOU DR. HEY!!!!

ANREA _________
AGE 17

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