Friday, September 5, 2014

What could happen to a small thoracolumbar curve with trunk shift as adolescent/young adult 40-45 years later?

Pam, Age 20 on left in red with trunk shift to right.
Pam, Age 60, 1 year after scoliosis surgery
Yesterday we saw Pam and her husband Gerry for her 1 year postop follow-up at Hey Clinic for her thoracolumbar-iliac wing instrumentation and fusion with laminectomies and osteotomies.  She is doing really well, is active and really enjoys her new posture.  She shared a very interesting story, which she also shares on YouTube video below:  Recently she went home to the house where she grew up and found an old photograph of herself with her college roommate at age 20.  Pam studied the photograph and noted that the picture clearly shows that she had a slight trunk shift to the right, although she was never diagnosed with scoliosis.  For her wedding pictures a few years later, the photographer made her stand in a very awkward way, which he said made her look "straight" but to Pam made her feel wierd and unbalanced.  In the years to come, she noted increased back pain, loss of height, and worsening humps on her back with posture/appearance increasing difficulty.

This is really a wonderful "Time Machine" look at why it is important to screen and follow-up for scoliosis, not only in children and teen-agers but in young adults and older adults as well.  In this day and age, Pam could have had her scoliosis fixed at age 16 or possibly even up until her late 20's with a much smaller operation, which would have preserved a good portion of her lumbar mobility, while centering the loads to help prevent those lowest discs and facet joints from wearing out prematurely, causing back pain as well as possibly sciatica, spinal claudication and leg pain and trouble walking.  Increased awareness by not only pediatricians, but OB/GYN's , family practitioners, chiropractors, physical therapists and others can help ensure that patients like Pam are diagnosed early, and followed regularly, so they potentially can choose less invasive options that could prevent issues in years to come.

Fortunately there is also hope for the older adults who have progressive deformity, and/or increasing pain and problems with quality of life, as Pam can attest!

Thanks for being willing to share with others on the blog, Pam and Gerry!

Dr. Lloyd Hey, Hey Clinic for Scoliosis and Spine Surgery

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