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Thread: for Dave Wolpert

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2003

    for Dave Wolpert

    Hi, David:
    I just went looked up spinal stapling on yahoo which linked me to your book. thank you so much. I'd love it if my 13-yr old daughter did not have to have surgery and limit her flexibility, and I'm wondering what you think of spinal stapling? It seems experimental but successful so far. Also - I'm not totally clear why Soraya should have her surgery NOW, at 47 degrees and progressing about a degree a month, when she has JUST started her "growth spurt". It's been explained to me - since it will get worse a lot faster during her growing stage it will only be able to be corrected to a degree commensurate with the degree of curvature....but I'm not sure how to answer relatives when they ask the reason. By the way, SO many people are saying "don't be so quick to operate - maybe there's a better way" but I've consulted with three orthopaedic surgeons (all at Kaiser), two chiropracters, and an independent orthopaedic doctor and they all say no matter what we do (bracing, chiropracty, or other) eventually she'll need surgery anyway. Thanks so much. Can you clear up any of these issues? I'm very grateful for this forum and Soraya is using it, too.
    Sincerely yours, Anne Sadeghpour

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Austin, TX

    I am by no means an expert on spinal stapling. If you live anywhere near Philadelphia, or are willing to make the trip, you might want to consult with Dr. Randal Betz at the Shriner's Hospital there. He's the real expert.

    I can tell you that stapling is probably best viewed as an alternative to bracing, not to surgery. It may be appropriate for children with more mild or more slowly progressing curves.

    If your daughter has just started her growth spurt and already has a 47 degree curve that's progressing 1 degree per month, the chances are high, unfortunately, that stapling won't stabilize her curve sufficiently to prevent the need for surgery later, nor reduce it permanently. So, the orthopedists you consulted are probably right that surgery is her only viable option.

    Whether or not she needs surgery right now is debatable. Unless she's in pain, this isn't urgent. However, the longer she waits the less correction she'll probably get. Balancing that, though, is that fusing a still-growing spine will result in some permanent limitation on the height she can reach. This is an issue you'll need to trust your surgeon on.

    By the way, chiropractic care and the many other "alternative" treatment programs you hear about will not arrest her curve progression or give her any permanent correction. They may help reduce her pain, if she's in any, but only temporarily.

    Hope this helps!


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