Saturday, October 11, 2008

27 yo nurse going home less than 48 hours after scoliosis surgery w/ Dr. Hey

On Thursday late afternoon, I "straightened out" Melissa's 54 degree
Melissa is a 27 yo nurse, who has a long history of scoliosis going
back to her very early adolescence.
Her curve has progressed as an adult, and she had a very prominent R
thoracic rib hump.

Her surgery took a little less than three hours, and required no blood
At Melissa's request, I videotaped portions of her surgery using our
special high definition camera system.
After Melissa gets a chance to see her surgery in HD, perhaps she will
share some of it with our Blog readers/watchers in coming weeks.
She was able to go to our orthopaedic inpatient unit, to a large
private room where her sister could stay with her in a separate bed
next to her.
She did great postoperatively, with excellent correction of her
deformity. Her large right rib hump is now gone. We performed a
subcuticular plastic surgery-type closure with Dermabond, so her
incision looks great, and is waterproof for showering without a
Melissa was up walking yesterday, less than 14 hours after getting up
to her room, and ambulated with little or no assistance.
This morning, approximately 40 hours after getting out of surgery, she
was walking the halls with the physical therapist in her bath robe,
and was eating well.
She paused for a minute in our "homebound room" to get a picture with
me on rounds, in front of our test car that we use to teach people how
to get in and out of a car after surgery.
She went home today looking great!
Melissa can start getting back to exercise this upcoming week, with
walking, treadmill, stair master, and some weight lifting and
Get well soon, Melissa!

This is a good example why it is important to continue to follow
idiopathic scoliosis beyond the adolescent period, since some curves
will continue to progress significantly during adulthood.

It is also a good example of fixing scoliosis while you are a younger
adult, rather than an older adult, since the younger adults have more
flexible curves, with better correction, recover quicker, often
require less fusion levels and shorter surgeries with less surgical
risk and blood loss, have fewer comorbid conditions, and better bone
quality for quicker fusions and less hardware loosening and failures.
Younger patients have more years to enjoy their new shape, and by
fixing the curve when you are younger, you can help possibly prevent
the lower lumbar discs from wearing out more quickly due to the upper
spine forcing the lower spine to be out of alignment with asymmetric
loading leading to more rapid disc deterioration.

While I have helped patients with scoliosis literally from every
decade of life, from less than 10 years old to almost a hundred years
old (96 the oldest!), there is no doubt that it is better to be
proactive, following the curve throughout life, and intervene early if
curve is progressive, or if pain or other quality of life issues
become significant.

Lloyd A. Hey, MD MS
Hey Clinic for Scoliosis and Spine Surgery
Raleigh, NC USA
Member, Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)

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