View Full Version : Have chosen surgery, but what is CLEAR?

03-19-2010, 12:20 PM
Hi everyone. I've been reading this forum now for over a year and learned so much and am really impressed with all the knowledge out there and support as well.

But here's my question that I want to pose to those who have likely done a lot of research already with CLEAR. Who are they? Here I am, ready to meet my surgeon next week to discuss surgery, and I read CLEAR's website today and I'm saying, whaaaaaaat? Here's a couple snipets I read on their site:

One parent commented, "I found out that this recommended surgical procedure leaves up to 40% of the patients who get it severely handicapped within 17 years. I also found out that the average curvature before the surgery was 71 degrees and was only reduced to 44 degrees after the surgery."

:confused: Is this true? Where is this data from? And this too:

"Many long-term studies indicate poor treatment outcomes for surgically treated patients and some studies even recommend a second surgery for complete removal of the hardware after bony fusion has taken place. The surgical procedure simply transforms the spinal deformity into a permanent spinal dysfunction that often results in chronic pain, disfigurement, and even long-term disability."

YIKES! :eek: I don't scare easily but I am truly hoping that this data is untrue and based on some one-sided studies.

03-19-2010, 01:25 PM
I don't personally know about CLEAR, but there are websites out there designed to scare in business to themselves. There is actually a "doctor" out there that claims he can cure or significantly reduce scoliosis with his non-invasive techniques as long as his protocol is followed. He uses a LOT of scare tactics like pictures of broken Harrington rods, medical journal articles that have adverse things to say, etc... When I actually looked up his "sources", the articles he was quoting from were like from the 1940's!! Sheesh! You really need to be careful. The Scoliosis Research Society has up to date information for us. If these tactics of some "doctors" really worked, they would be using them. I myself am a "victim" of one of these quacks that said I was going to make him famous for curing my scoliosis. "right" :rolleyes:
Just be careful whatever treatment you decide on. If surgery is what you need, then be at peace with that decision.

03-19-2010, 02:11 PM
The claim that "40% of surgery patients are legally defined as permanently handicapped for the rest of their lives" refers to the Harrington Rod, which is now obsolete and has not been in regular use in the UK or US for over 20 years. There were specific problems that could be caused by using a Harrington Rod, and these problems have been fixed in the design of today's spinal hardware.

It comes from the following journal article:

“On average, 16 years after surgery, 40% of surgery patient are permanently handicapped for the rest of their lives” (Long-term results of quality of life in patients with idiopathic scoliosis after Harrington instrumentation and their relevance for expert evidence. Gotze C, Slomka A, Gotze HG, Potsl W, Liljenqvist U, Stienbeck J. Z Orthop Ihre Grensgeb 2002 Sep-Oct)

Likewise, the information about the amount of correction that can be achieved is seriously outdated. It wasn't possible to achieve such good corrections with the old Harrington Rod as it is with modern rod and pedicle screw systems today. This is because the Harrington Rod was designed to only attach to the ends of the curve and push it straight, rather than fixing to each individual vertebra and derotating them. I have a Harrington Rod and my thoracic curve was corrected from 76 to 45 degrees, but today my friends with scoliosis of the same size usually see their curves reduced to at least 15 degrees, and quite often to below 10! Just ask around here, and ask your surgeon how his patients usually fare - you'll see what sort of corrections people are getting :)

I've also seen the claim that "surgery can't correct the rotation of the spine or the ribcage deformity" but of course that is outdated as well - modern hardware CAN and DOES do this.

03-19-2010, 02:56 PM
I think Clear Institute is a program done through chiropractors' offices. I know there is a practitioner here locally who even got news coverage about this method, although all of the patients interviewed were teenagers. I would be very cautious and thoroughly research this before making any drastic decisions. Have heard some less than good things. I would certainly have more faith in an MD's assessment of a spinal condition regardless of the claims made by the proponents of Clear Institute.

03-19-2010, 03:30 PM
We had a thread about their statements a couple months back. Most of us in this forum did not believe their statements.


03-19-2010, 07:19 PM
Hi. I am a Clear graduate; I actually went there for two weeks in the summer of '07. I did not have a good experience. I am scheduled for surgery in June with Dr. Lonner of NYU/Joint Diseases in New York. If you send me a private message, I would be glad to talk to you about my experience and perceptions. I am 57 with a 85% thoracic curve, although I have no pain.

By the way, how may people out there have had fusions, even with Harrington rods, who are just going about their lives, who we never hear about? Ingrid Bergman writes about her daughter Isabella Rossalini's scoliosis surgery when she was 14 and how she spent several months in a body cast. She went on to become a beautiful model and actress!

41% sounds a lot better than 71!


03-19-2010, 07:49 PM
I appreciate everyone's feedback. I know that there is quite a bit of talk on this forum about CLEAR but I never paid too much attention until I saw that data. Amazing how they can get away with quoting old statistics like that.

I feel much better! :)

03-19-2010, 11:43 PM
I know ALL about Clear as I went through their scam of a program for a while. Local chiropractors worked through this organization, it was a horrible experience. To cut a long story short, they tell you all those lies about the surgery, because they want you to go with their program, which involves torturous treatment walking with weights on your body, laying on contraptions etc., they promise you that they can straighten your spine without surgery, and charge you approx. $15,000. I ended up bruised and in so much pain, I cancelled the program and after sending a letter threatening to go to a lawyer, I was refunded my money in it's entirety.

03-20-2010, 01:28 AM
Slam dunk!

That explains a lot.


03-20-2010, 08:35 AM
41% sounds a lot better than 71!


I agree. As we age, the correction that the surgeons are able to get decreases. It all depends on how rigid the curve is. In my case, the top curve was very stiff and was only able to get about 50% correction. My surgeon didn't over-correct the bottom or I would have been too unbalanced.

I think those statements are meant to scare patients.

03-20-2010, 10:16 AM
I recently learned that CLEAR stands for:

Chiropractic Leadership, Educational Advancement, and Research.

Since chiropractic treatment has never been proven to permanently reduce a curve - and since the vast majority of respected orthopedic surgeons feel it has no place in treating scoliosis, that would be enough for me to RUN from these guys.

They are, are others have said, using scare tactics and misrepresting the facts in an attempt to make money - period.

I think the following statement by ADMoul said it best:

"I would certainly have more faith in an MD's assessment of a spinal condition regardless of the claims made by the proponents of Clear Institute".