View Full Version : Hello from the UK

03-12-2007, 04:56 AM
Hello Everybody,

Iím new to this forum and have just been reading some of the interesting posts. Itís only just this last week I decided to look on the net for Scoliosis related items and found this forum to have quite a following.

I was diagnosed with Scoliosis in 1975. I was 17 years old then, and the following year I spent nearly 4 months in the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore having the corrective surgery. My surgeon was a Mr Edger and I owe so much to him and the staff at this hospital.

I remember having to do manual traction for 2 week prior to the operation. I had around 8 pounds in weight pulling on my neck and a harness around my hips, after which I was cocooned in a full body plaster cast, after being stretched on a rack system to achieve the best correction possible.

The following week I had the Harrington instrumentation fitted along with the spinal fusion.
Iím not sure as to the length of the fusion, but the Harrington instrumentation goes the full length of my spine. It was some 6 weeks after this I started to learn to walk again, and finaly
I came home.

I would be interested to see if anyone on this forum has been in the RNOH. Iím now 48 years
old and have no problems in the previous 30 years since the op.

Very best wishes,


03-12-2007, 06:27 AM
Hey Martin!

Mr Edgar was my surgeon too - what an amazing man he is. He'd only just started working as a specialist in his own right in 1975, so you must have been one of his very first patients :D

I was born in 1975 but was diagnosed with scoliosis at 6 months old, with an idiopathic double curve of about 62/40 degrees. I wore plaster casts and Milwaukee braces throughout my childhood until I had my first surgery at ten, in 1986. The "manual traction" you mentioned is the method they still use for putting EDF plaster casts on little kids.

Like you, I was treated at the RNOH in Stanmore, and had about 3 weeks in halo traction on a Stryker rotatable bed whilst in hospital for my surgeries. I wore a plaster cast for 6 months after that, and then I was brace/cast free for the first time in my life! I also had to learn to walk again after so many weeks lying down. I only had the top curve fused at this time though, in order to give me a chance to grow a bit taller before they fused the bottom as well - so I had further surgery in 1994 when I was 18. I'm now fused from T1-L4, so just have the two vertebrae left unfused at the bottom, but I don't really feel restricted in any way as I'm so used to it.

You might like to come and chat to us at www.scoliosis-support.org, which is our UK based forum with many people who have been/are being treated at Stanmore. I do hope the mods here won't mind us referring to it, as we send people here all the time if they need more opinions from US-based people, and most of us belong to this site as well and give support and help where we can :)

Anyway....Mr Edgar....the man is my hero. My life would have been so different without his skill and expertise!

Toni xx

03-12-2007, 07:10 AM
Hi Welcome to the site.

I was diagnosed with Scoli, kyphosis and lordosis at 11, I am 22 now.

I had my surgery for the scoli and kyphosis 8 weeks ago this week in RNOH at Stanmore. I was only in for two weeks though. I can't imagine what it must be like to be in for 4 months.

I find it amazing how much treatment has progressed and changed over the last 30 years or so.

Karen x

03-12-2007, 07:22 AM
Hello Toni,

Many thanks for your reply.

Wow, so you were treated and the RNOH. Itís was very interesting reading your history at Stanmore.

I do hope you are doing ok now Toni, and indeed MR Edger is a marvellous surgeon. I didnít know that he was fairly new in 75, this is very interesting stuff.

I see that you had a double curve, and at such a young age. As mentioned I do hope all is well with you now?.

Thanks very much for the link, I would like to pop in and chat, Iíll do this later today. God this is bring back such memories Toni. Funny Iíve not given it much thought over the years and only just looked on the net to see other with this complaint.

I remember the Milwaukee brace, it offered such freedom compared to the plaster casts. It was also nice to be able to remove it when lying down for a while.

Oh, right so they still use the manual traction. Mmm.. Thought the procedure may have changed in 30 years.

What do you do now Toni?..

Very best wishes,


03-12-2007, 07:42 AM
Hello Karen,

Thanks for the reply.

Iím finding this very emotional reading yours and Toniís stories. I also hope you are ok Karen?. Maybe itís because this problem affects young people.

I donít know how each person feels, but I remember thinking when I woke up from the op that my spine is only as good as Mr Edgerís hands now. This is just what entered my head at the time. I can say that in 30 years Iíve had no trouble at all. So I have every confidence that this will be the same for both you and Toni.

Karen, the 4 months did seem like a lifetime. I watched people come and go and it seemed endless. My Mum Dad and Brother were amazing; they came to visit 3 times a week and where there all day at the weekends, without this I donít know what I would have done.

Many thanks for the welcome.

Very best wishes,


03-12-2007, 08:39 AM
Hi Martyn,

I got lucky and got a relatively rare type of scoliosis - infantile idiopathic with a large double curve as a baby - and Mr Edgar told me that I really scared him when my parents first took me to him! His words: "I thought, poor little mite, she's going to grow up a hunchback"....but because of his expertise no-one can really tell I have scoliosis anymore, unless they look carefully :D

The plaster casts are only usually put on infants these days. A lady called Min Mehta, who was a colleague of Mr Edgar's at Stanmore (you may remember her, as I do, as a little Indian lady who would be followed round with an entourage of student doctors like Mr Edgar himself had!) has discovered that plaster casts can be used to "mould" a young infant's spine straight because their bones are so soft. The old Risser frame, upon which we both used to get cast, is still being used at Stanmore for these children. Older kids generally aren't cast anymore, and you're right - the techniques for treating them have changed completely in the past 30 years.

Do you know the degree of your curvature before surgery, and now? I do have problems still, sadly....I get a lot of pain from muscle spasms and nerve damage. I take a lot of painkillers and have to have steroid injections every few months to sort them out. My breathing is slightly compromised, but not enough to be a real problem. I had one costoplasty (operation to reduce my rib hump) when I was 18, but then I had a further costoplasty when I was 25 as it became obvious they could get more correction.

Toni xx

03-15-2007, 05:48 PM
hi martin

i havent been on here for a while so missed this post.
anyway i also had surgery at the rnoh stanmore in august of 06 and the main reason i havent been on here is im nearly back to normal nad out and about much more.

im in no pain whatsoever and in great spirits.

It must be strange looking into this agian after 30 years but it must make you realise how lucky you are that you have not had any problems since.