Health Alert | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Medical Minute: Straightening Out Scoliosis

Scoliosis, or a curvature of the spine, usually develops in children around age nine. Moderate and severe cases often require a brace, but if the problem continues, spinal fusion is often called for. Now, doctors at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia are using staples to put off fusion.

One look around and it's clear, an active child lives here. As much as she loved the wild activities, Brittani's back didn't. Brittani was following in her mother's footsteps both have scoliosis. Doctors first said, like her mother, Brittani would need fusion.

"I was devastated. It's emotionally, it's very difficult for a young girl to have a scar that pretty much covers the length of her spine," says her mother, Pamela.

Then, they mentioned an experimental procedure spinal stapling.

"By putting a staple over on this side, you can temporarily arrest the growth of the spine on that side, allowing this side to continue to grow," says Dr. Randal Betz.

Dr. Randal Betz says, so far, it's been very successful.

"I have two children that I'm following that have gone from 20 degrees now to straight."

In just a few months, Dr. Linda D'Andrea has seen drastic improvements in Brittani too.

"Her 20 degree thoracic curve has now decreased to 11 degrees, and her 25 degree lumbar curve is now 15 degrees," says Dr. Linda D’Andrea.

So, what does that mean?

"If she came in with 11 and 15 degrees, I probably wouldn't even brace her."

Brittani's mom nearly cried at the results. As for Brittani, she’s happy about the procedure and being back to full activity, with no restrictions.

For more information, contact:

Terry Diamond
800-281-4050 Ext. 4055

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