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Adolescent scoliosis

Started by Petra DeBolt BSN on 05/10/2010 3:28pm

My 13 year old daughter has idiopathic scoliosis with a progressive curve for which surgery is now recommended. She presently has no pain but her curve is 51 degrees and they begin to consider surgery between 40-50 degrees. I am presently exploring options to the traditional (open spine) thoracotomy and have researched the (minimally invasive) video assisted thoracoscopy (VATS) with interest, though it is not offered locally and almost certainly will not be covered by my insurance. This surgery is done endoscopically will less scarring, less pain and blood loss, and a faster recovery. It is currently being performed at Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Sutter Memorial Children's Hosptial, CA. I am conflicted as to whether to proceed with the traditional surgery (already scheduled for July 2010-but can be cancelled), try and come up with the funds to pay out of pocket for the out-of-state VATS, or wait and see if the curvature worsens and/or medical advancements in scoliosis surgery come to Fort Myers, FL. Appreciate any ideas...

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Petra,

Let us know if you went through with the surgery or not. For the benefit of others in case you have, I would start with a great surgeon and work backwards from there, rather than procedure or product. Experience is extremely important in deformity surgery. The SRS www.srs.org) is the leading professional society for scoliosis surgery and is a good place to start. They have a find a doctor tool that is specific to Scoliosis surgery.

You can also find some great deformity surgeons on our editorial board. SpineUniverse Editorial Board

Dr. Lenke, Dr. Bridwell, Dr. Akbarnia, Dr. Polly and Dr. Shufflebarger (Miami, FL) are all incredibly talented surgeons that I would trust my own child's surgery to. I believe all of these doctors can be found on the SRS site as well. In fact many of them have held or currently hold leadership positions in the organization.

Scoliosis surgery is a serious surgery. Find a doctor you trust, get a second opinion and make an informed choice in consultation with your provider.

I wish you and your family the best of luck.

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Petra,

The previous commenter gives very sound advice.
The skill of the surgeon in his decision making and technical ability is by far the biggest predictor of a successful outcome.

Minimally invasive spinal surgery for Scoliosis is a relatively new technique, and although the aim is reduced blood loss, scarring and immediate post-op pain, there are potential disadvantages too. Mainly the question of a reliable and solid fusion mass - essential to hold the Deformity correction post-op, and not require revision surgery.
Few surgeons have a huge experience in this field, and those that do, are themselves on a learning curve.
If it was MY child, I would opt for a tried and tested technique, with a reliably high degree of success, in the hands of one of the afformentioned surgeons.
If FL is the state of Florida - I believe Dr Boachie operates there, and would also be an excellent candidate, if you can get him.

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