Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

Age at surgery: 15
Years since surgery: 1

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Dr. Geck took x rays and explained that Stephanie and her mom Amy that she had adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, the most common kind of scoliosis. The word “adolescent” refers to the age group, “scoliosis” refers to the abnormal spinal curve, and “idiopathic” refers to the fact that the origin of the curve was once not known. “Now we know that these curves are genetic, and have to do with abnormal spine growth,” says Dr. Geck.

Dr. Geck prescribed conservative treatment first, which included bracing. Bracing is an attempt to reduce the risk of progression of the curve. In Stephanie's case, it did not work. She and her mom, Amy, returned to see Dr. Geck with a curve that had progressed 10 degrees to 48 degrees in the brace, with significant remaining growth left, putting her at risk for continued progression in the short term. She also had a case of reduced lung capacity which her pediatrian thought the scoliosis contributed to. “We had a progressing curve, a spinal deformity that Stephanie and her mother did not like, and possibly early lung issues,” recalls Dr. Geck.

“I slouched a lot and I felt like I was starting to look funny in clothes,” says Stephanie. “I already had a slight case of reduced lung capacity, my pediatrician also played a part in helping me decide that this would be the best thing for me.”

In a series of counseling visits, Dr. Geck explained their options that included further bracing, observation, or surgery. He explained for her that minimally invasive surgery was an option, in which the traditional “open” incision was replaced be three small incisions instead of a long one. Put minimally invasive figure here.

Potential benefits included a faster recovery, less pain, maintenance of muscle function, and less blood loss. . “Once curves approach 40-50 degrees, they are at risk for progressing into adulthood. In Stephanie's case, the deformity she had was already more than she was comfortable with.”

Dr. Geck performed the minimally invasive scoliosis surgery, and corrected her 48 degree curve down to 12 degrees, correction of 80%. Stephanie was out of bed walking in two days. In 4 weeks she was back to walking through dance practice. As the Co-Chief of the Seton Spine and Scoliosis Center, Dr. Geck is the first surgeon in Texas and one of the few in the United States to perform minimally invasive scoliosis surgery on adolescents and adults for idiopathic scoliosis.

Stephanie was in the hospital for 4 days. “After the 5th day I did not take any pain medicine at all,” Stephanie recalls. After 4 weeks, she was back to dance line walk throughs. Back at school now as a Sophomore, Stephanie says she feels taller, skinnier, and “I have never been so happy with the way I look”. She is excited to get back to dancing, gymastics, and cheer.

“I think it's beautiful, she looks fabulous,” say Amy, Stephanie's mom. “I think she's 5'3 1/2” now, she was 5'2” before. She just looks like a totally different person, she looks taller, thinner, and sits up beautifully.”

Treatments
  • Traditional Treatments
    • Learn about traditional treatments for pain relief to bridge from inactivity to physical therapy
  • Scoliosis Surgery
    • Learn about advances in scoliosis treatment and current minimally invasive options.
  • Osteotomy Surgery
    • For the most complex spinal deformities learn about how osteotomy surgery can balance the spine.
  • Thoracoscopic Surgery
    • Video assisted thoracoscopic surgery uses techniques for minimal invasion of the chest wall or thoracic cavity.
  • Vertebral Body Stapling
    • Vertebral body stapling is an innovative, minimally invasive approach that is an alternative therapy for early onset scoliosis.
  • XLIF, DLIF, TLIF
    • Learn about minimally invasive interbody techniques such as XLIF, DLIF, and TLIF.
What do Your Symptoms Indicate?
  • Red Flag Symptoms
    • Many back problems can improve on their own or with non-surgical treatment. They key is to understand which symptoms are emergencies and need to be seen immediately.
Home Remedy Book
  • Home Remedy Book
    • Have back or neck pain? Learn what causes symptoms and the home remedies that relieve pain. Scoliosis Texas mails out Home Remedy Books to residents throughout the Austin area.

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