View Full Version : Surgery in Michigan

TJs mom
02-23-2009, 04:57 PM
Hello - I am new to this forum and new to "chat rooms" in general. My son, TJ was dx with scoliosis since he was 8 - he is now 15. He has a 46 degr. curve in his brace 53 degr. out. TJ's bone age of 13 and he weighs 75lbs. He is small for his age. I have been going to a Dr. Dale Rowe in Kalamazoo Mich. - he "specializes" in spinal reconstruction and scoliosis, but is not necessarily a peds ortho. Dr. Rowe has indicated surgery. He did say (with the Endocrinologist) that it wouldn't hurt TJ to wait a while and give him time to grow. He said if he does the fusion he would go from T2 to L3.
Last week I took him to U of M to see a Dr. Kelly Vanderhave who is a peds ortho. who specializes in spinal deformities. She suggests not waiting and said she would fuse from T4 to L1. I wanted to know if anyone on the forum has heard anything about either of these Dr.'s as well as any advice. This is new to us. Thanks and looking forward to getting to know everyone.

02-23-2009, 05:05 PM
Welcome TJ'smom,

I don't have direct experience with pediatric orthos (or orthos in general) in MI. My son is 13.5yrs old and was born with congenital scoliosis. In the congenital scoliosis world, Dr. Fran Farley in Ann Arbor seems to be great at treating adolescents with scoliosis.

I do hope he remains stable while he's growing. Having a fusion surgery (especially a large fusion like they are recommending) before skeletal maturity is riskier than if you wait. My Braydon's bone age is also 2 years behind his actual age. I totally understand where you are coming from. Even more reason to get yet another opinion (and keep getting opinions, if possible) until you are 100% confident in the recommendations and surgeons. I would absolutely go with a PEDIATRIC orthopedic surgeon who specializes in scoliosis.

I would ask lots of questions that are specific to TJ. Ask about risks of fusion before skeletal maturity. Does he have any other medical condition (that may seem unrelated, even) that may influence scoliosis treatment? Does he have GI/stomach problems? Is there a medical reason he's small for his age? Renal/kidney issues? Heart defect?

Lots of questions, I know. Good luck.

02-23-2009, 05:30 PM
Hi TJ'smom,

A few years ago, Dr. Kelly Vanderhave worked at the Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey PA. Dr. Vanderhave was our second of five opinions for my daughter, Jamie.

Feel free to send me a private message (click on the dot next to Snoopy, click on send private message) and we can share information there, or share e-mail addresses.

Mary Lou

TJs mom
02-23-2009, 08:25 PM
Carmell - thanks for getting back to me. The Dr. did have TJ checked out for "other stuff". He has a heart murmur, but the cardiologist did an echo. and everything is ok. He saw a geneticist and he feels he has no syndrome. TJ did have pectus excavatum that was surgically fixed 3 years ago. We have been to an endocrinologist and he told us he is growing "at his own tempo" so he doesn't want to give him any growth hormones (which I don't want to give him either). As I said before the one Dr. says to wait and let him grow, the other Dr. says waiting will not give him any more height than he would of had - that when he grows the growth will go into his curve, not his overall height -(He is currently 4'11" (15yo)). This is why I'm so confused. Thanks Shannon