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Thread: seeking info on Dr. Hugo A. Keim

  1. #1
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    May 2005
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    Exclamation seeking info on Dr. Hugo A. Keim

    Hugo Keim did my original fusion in 1978 when I was 13. I am 40 now. Original curve was just about 40-degrees, not worth much hoopla. I did not have a good experience with him, but I think others did. Would like to hear from other Keim patients about their experiences with him.

    Many thanks.

    Leigh

  2. #2
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    Dr. Keim:

    I worked with Dr. Keim at Columbia- Presbyterian in NYC. He was very well respected at the time and used Harrington rods because that was the state of the art then. He even married one of his scoliosis patients.

    Before he retired I consulted him(I was 52 at the time) - 1994 about pain below my fusion-I had no hardware at the time because that was not done with earlier scoliosis surgeries. He measured my curve(64 deg), said my fusion was "solid" and it would not get worse. He said "keep aerobic". He retired to Florida shortly thereafter. Dr. Thomas Errico took over his practice. Another revision forum talks very highly of him as a revision surgeon.

    The rest is history;my curve went from 64 deg to 80 deg 7 years later.

    Karen
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  3. #3
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    Dr. Keim

    I had surgery in 1981. I found Dr. Keim through an article Time Magazine did of him about scoliosis surgery. At that time everyone I went to said I was too old for the surgery and that nothing could be done. I was 27 with relentless pain. Took months to get an appointment and then more time to get a surgery appointment but was certainly worth the wait. Actually that year (February) in Colorado there wasn't much snow, and his ski vacation was cancelled so they pushed my surgery up by two months. I was thrilled! So to me he was my savior. I was engaged through all of this and got married four months after my cast was removed. I was pain free until 1997. Then you can see below what procedures I had since then. LYNN
    1981 Surgery with Harrington Rod; fused from T2 to L3 - Dr.Keim (at 26 years old)
    2000 Partial Rod Removal
    2001 Right Scapular Resection
    12/07/2010 Surgical stabilization L3 through sacrum with revision harrington rod instrumentation, interbody fusion and pre-sacral fusion L5-S1 - Dr. Boachie (at 56 years old)
    06/11/14 - Posterior cervical fusion C3 - T3 (Mountaineer System) due to severely arthritic joints - Dr. Patrick O'Leary (at age 59)

  4. #4
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    Hi Leigh...

    I know that we've corresponded about Dr. Keim's practice of fusing kids with relatively small curves. While I'm sure he did a lot of harm, I don't think that he did it knowingly.

    In his book "The Adolescent Spine" he writes about the indications for surgery. Interestingly, he states "prevention of future problems such as degenerative arthritic changes and destruction of facet joints" as an indication for surgery. That pretty much opens the door for anyone to qualify. Some additional quotes of interest are:

    *"I often see families in which the parents or child will not tolerate a curve over 25 or 30 degrees. The parents are most insistent that their child's back be absolutely straight, and although some parents are unreasonable in this regard, deformities that were socially acceptable years ago are no longer tolerated by our society."

    *"Some of my patients will not tolerate a curve over 35 degrees are are anxioius to have correction performed as quickly as possible. Psychologically, they are opposed to wearing any brace for a long time and they readily respond to the suggestion of surgery."

    *"I believe that the correction of a 40 degree scoliosis in an otherwise healthy fourteen-year-old patient, when performed in a modern hospital setting, with good anesthesia, surgical technique, and blood banking, is no more dangerous than driving from New York City to Florida or California."

    Anyway, in reading his words, I sense that he was really trying to please his patients and their families. Had he known what was in the future for many of his patients, I'm sure he would not have been so eager to operate.

    By the way, he's using some of his wealth to fund scholarships for disabled students:

    http://www.chairscholars.org/about.html

    Regards,
    Linda

  5. #5
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    Linda - now that you mention his book, he signed a book he wrote and gave it to me post-op visit. Not sure if that was the name of it, could he have written more than one? Anyway, I did read it and felt that my back will never have any pain again. I have this rod that is going to protect me forever from any back pain for whatever reason. When I started with the pain again in 1997, I looked through his book for help and I remember thinking, I can't be having this pain from the surgery, his book says otherwise. I still am grateful that he helped me at that time. Boy you just brought back something that I hadn't thought about. I do remember when I went to Dr. Errico, his associate told me that I had my surgery ten years too early, that in the 90's the rods were so different with much less side effects in the future and I guess he was right!
    1981 Surgery with Harrington Rod; fused from T2 to L3 - Dr.Keim (at 26 years old)
    2000 Partial Rod Removal
    2001 Right Scapular Resection
    12/07/2010 Surgical stabilization L3 through sacrum with revision harrington rod instrumentation, interbody fusion and pre-sacral fusion L5-S1 - Dr. Boachie (at 56 years old)
    06/11/14 - Posterior cervical fusion C3 - T3 (Mountaineer System) due to severely arthritic joints - Dr. Patrick O'Leary (at age 59)

  6. #6
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    Yes, it appears that Hugo Keim wrote several books:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/se...660177-0311035

  7. #7
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    Smile Dr. Keim

    Hi, Leigh!

    I was operated by Dr. Keim in 1980 at the age of 17. Like you, my curve was not as severe as other patients. It was only 45 degrees but he said it would continue to get worse. The surgery went well and I was so happy that I had the surgery. I was pain free for 24 years.

    My family and I felt like Dr. Keim was truly a very respected doctor in that hospital. When my cast came off 8 months later, he told me to have a good life and stay fit. I listened to him and I never had a problem with my back until I stopped working out and gained 20 pounds!!! I should have continued listening to him. But we have nothing but good things to say about Dr. Keim. Lynn was right when she quoted Dr. Errico as saying we had our surgery ten years too soon.

    ~~Suzanne in NJ
    45 Degree curve, Harrington rod place in 1980 by Dr. Keim at Columbia-Presbyterian, NYC.

  8. #8
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    Dr. Keim performed my surgery in 1972 when I was 13. I had a 77 degree top curve and 45 degree bottom. I had the harrington rod as well as a spinal fusion. I didn't have any problems until 3 years ago. I am now in constant pain without many options to deal with it. I just started using a tens unit and am considering acupunture.

    The pain management doctor I went to see last week thinks that this type of surgery was a big error. I have bone spurs growing on my neck, degenerative disk disease. spinal stenosis in my lower lumbar, ridging, and some broken off deposits in my lower back. Because of all of this I was unable to try the epidural shots of cortizone.

    My other option is to have the hardware removed which my doctor doesn't recommend and I'm not willing to go through it anyway. I have read it can make things worse than they already are.

  9. #9
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    Hi KG...

    Ask your pain management doctor what he'd be able to do for you if you hadn't had the surgery, and your top curve was > 100 degrees. ;-)

    It seems unlikely to me that having your hardware removed would do anything to reduce your pain. If it wasn't painful for the first 30 years, it probably isn't painful now. It's more likely that you have disc problems above and/or below the fusion. I understand not wanting more surgery, but if the pain and loss of function gets bad enough, I'd urge you to find a good revision surgeon and at least consider it.

    Regards,
    Linda

  10. #10
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    Nov 2004
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    I agree with removing the hardware isn't going to do anything. I admit I am terrified of any further surgery but will look into it when I can no longer deal with the pain. I'm in NJ, not too far from Manhattan, and I have heard of a few good specialists for my problem are there.

    My current orthopedic surgeon was a resident who worked with Dr. Keim when I had my surgery in 1972. Small world.


    Kim

  11. #11
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    Kim,

    Please consider chatting with Karen Ocker (below) about her experiences with Dr. Boachie-Adjei. He also operated on my daughter. He has the hands and heart of an angel, and is one of the country's best respected revision surgeons. If you let anyone operate on you, I would suggest him.
    Susanna
    ~~~~~~
    Mother of a 17 year old daughter. Her "S" curve was 40 degree thoracic from T3 to T9, and a 70 degree rotatory thorcolumbar from T9 to L4. She was operated on March 9th, 2005 by Dr. Boachie-Adjei at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC. She was fused from T11 to L3, using an anterior approach, and the major curve corrected to 20 degrees. She's doing great!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karen Ocker
    I worked with Dr. Keim at Columbia- Presbyterian in NYC. ... Another revision forum talks very highly of him as a revision surgeon. ...

    Karen
    Hi Karen,

    What other revision forums are there? I want to have as much & as diverse info going into the surgery as possible, so I know as well as I can that I've made the right choice. Thanks!

    P.S. Dr. Boachie-Adjei will be doing the surgery, and I am so impressed by his magnificent human spirit together with his reputation for extraordinary technical skill that I am considering not even getting a second opinion (which I think is always good housekeeping) and simply following whatever plan he prefers.

  13. #13
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by kg5939
    I agree with removing the hardware isn't going to do anything. I admit I am terrified of any further surgery but will look into it when I can no longer deal with the pain. I'm in NJ, not too far from Manhattan, and I have heard of a few good specialists for my problem are there.

    Kim
    Kim,

    I am adding my vote to Susanna's about Dr. Boachie. Please read my response to Karen in this thread, and then do a little surfing to find out about Dr. Boachie. He is an outstanding human being.

    Good wishes,

    Leigh

  14. #14
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    Smile dr. keim was my surgeon and i LOVE him for saving my life

    HI! i just wanted to say, i had my scoliosis surgery almost exacltly 3 months after turning 17, december 1st 1975, after wearing the milwaukee brace for almost 4 1/2 years. i'd inherited it from my mom. she was born with it too and at the age of 2, had to wear the brace 'cause as she'd remembered it so vividly at that time & told me when i was older, her spine was like a letter "Z" it was so bad! she wore it till the age of (are you sitting?) 18 years old! 16 years in a brace! AND only allowed OUT of it 1 HOUR a day! i can't fathom that! she was born in 1929 so in those days things were WAY different than when I had MY brace. she noticed my tiny right shoulder blade sticking out when i was 7 MONTHS OLD in april of '59!!! amazing eyes i'd say! she knew what to look for when my sis was born & then me. my sis is fine, thank GOD! but i am the 1 born with it, so... fast forward now to 1975 and dr. keim said to me, in so many words, (because my spine was shaped & curved like a backwards letter 'S' due to my PROGRESSIVE scoliosis. i wasn't 'blessed' with a NON progressive scoliosis like my mom. HER spine is SO STRAIGHT you would NEVER KNOW she even has a MAYBE 3 degree curve on top! i can see it tho, she holds her self so beautifully and is going to be 77 the end of october! woo hoo!) he'd asked me whether i wanted to live or die! (he never 'pulled any puches with me' & he'd been my specialist since i was 12 1/2.) he knew, from our 1st meeting that he COULD be 'straight' with me (if you'll forgive the pun, honest to GOD i had NOT planned to say that! it just came out!) i was always mature for my age, NOW that i'm 48 & a gramma, i'm a 'big silly! lol) so he knew he could talk with me in detail. my curves were 48 degrees on top & 47 on the bottom and he knew that as he told me, my spine would eventually crush my heart & lungs and i would die if i did NOT have the surgery. so, i chose to have the surgery. i wanted to live! so, dec. 1st, 1975, was the very last time in my life that i was able to bend my torso (when i was NOT in the brace that is) but that's not such a bad thing to sacrifice for me anyway, than life... so, i have a 'bionic' spine in a way... at the hospital, after 11 days i was able to get up and walk, so, after i got better at walking, dr. keim had told me about some other patients of his so, because he would come to see me and call me 'sunshine' he asked if i could talk to them and give them a different perspective on what we were all going thru at the same time. so, i did. and it helped some other young girls look on the brighter side of the surgery, the life saving surgery. if i had to guess at what degrees my curves are at this very moment, i'd say, ZERO. my spine is completely straight, thanks to the harrington rod. i had my cast on during the whole summer and let me tell you, i was able to walk around with NO SHIRT on! it was the funniest!! (i had a diamond shape cut out of the cast so when i ate, my stomach could expand. so, when the cast was removed, i had a diamond shaped tan on it! LOL!!) i never let being in the cast (or even the brace) stop me! when i was allowed, after the 1st month of complete bed rest, little by little, i was more active. and i started my regular routine of 'running around' (i was a 'tomboy' in those days. i have the scars on my knees to prove it. too) my friends were the best, besides my family. they all stood by me, very protective of me too if i happned to get a 'look' if you know what i mean. when the little kids would ask me, "what's that thing on your neck? (meaning the brace) i'd say, "oh, my neck fell off! and they'd either laugh in hysterics or get very scared looks on their faces, i made sure that NO one was afraid and that i was just joking, so, i'd eventually tell them what it was, in a way that they would understand. it was very enlightening for them AND me! , anyway, after a while, i was back riding my bike, playing paddle ball, even playing football! don't worry, i was gentle with the boys! (i was the only girl playing football with all the boys! AAAAAHAHAHAHAHA! they were & ARE the greatest bunch o'guys, like my brothers & bodyguards too! we are all so blessed!) so finally, early september came along and i FINALLY got my cast removed! after 9 months of being in it, i had it removed 2 days before i turned 18! woo hoo! what a GREAT birthday gift! if i never had the surgery i'd have died a long time ago due to the rate of growth of my scoliosis. my son would have never been born, and subsequently, my grandson would have never been born, so...

    after posting this and reading all the postings above mine, i realized i'd left out some MORE important information. when i had my scoliosis surgery, i was a 'toothpick' and i had NEVER had ANY back pain due to my severe curves. (just thought i'd let you all know that) BUT, the day my cast was removed, dr. keim issued me a warning, "NEVER GAIN WEIGHT OR YOU WILL HAVE BACK PROBLEMS!" but i didn't listen, in my adult life, due to whatever personal problems i was having, i gained weight and my lower back was in CONSTANT AGONY! i've been 5' 9 1/4" since my surgery (the height i was SUPPOSED to be if i never HAD scoliosis) but when i 1st had the surgery, i was approx 125 lbs. (a 'toothpick' as i said earlier) but at a certain time in my life, i 'ballooned' up to approx 370-375, when my son was 7, he's almost 26 now) so, due to health problems all caused by my morbid obesity, my doc told me, "if you don't have a gastric bypass, you might NOT live to see age 50!" so, this nov. 13th will be 3 years since my gastric bypass (another life saving surgery) and i've lost a TOTAL of 100 lbs! i am NOT UNDER 200 lbs!!! at the time of my surgery, i was a little UNDER 300 lbs! i must tell you, after losing the FIRST 30 lbs, my back felt SO MUCH BETTER! NOW, the ONLY time my lower back hurts is @ 'that time of the month'... i'm so thankful to God that i've had such wonderful life saving surgeons in my life! i've been so blessed!

    honestly, i don't know what made me search for this forum tonite, but i'm sure God has had HIS Hand in it ALL the time! maybe MY experience can help anyone or everyone else. i even used to joke when wearing my brace, i called it 'bruce'... yeah, i know, weird, but funny! when ironing, i'd walk around the house w/hangers w/shirts on them, hanging on my brace! LOL! i had to make it a positive experience or i would just be so sad all the time. i HAD to 'turn it around" and i'm so thankful to God for getting me thru it all.
    well, that's all for now. if anyone would like to 'tawk' (<--my brooklyn accent for you all!) with me about it, i'd be happy to. you can e-mail me at: tersieface2@aol.com
    i'm stasi (pronounced 'stacey, but MINE is spelled correctly! LOL! seriously, it comes from the name 'anastasia' but not many folks know it.)
    i wish you all good health & happiness...
    God bless,
    stasi
    Last edited by tersieface2; 09-30-2006 at 06:51 PM.

  15. #15
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    Oct 2006
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    Middlebury, CT
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    Angry Dr. Keim

    Would like to hear from other Keim patients about their experiences with him.

    I had Dr. Keim do my surgery on January 5th 1975 - fusion and rods. I found him to be the most arrogant person to have walked the planet! When my parents asked about the risks involved in the surgery his response was, and I quote: " If you had the most precios diamond in the world and wanted it cut, you would take it to the best diamond cutter in the world. Your daughter is that diamond, and I that diamond cutter."

    At the time, he was reputed to be the number 2 scoliosis surgeon in the states - so one had to put up with his arrogance, lack of bedside manner and the 4 hour wait to be seen by him - I still remember leaving Ct early enough to make the 12 noon appointment and not being seen until 4pm on each and every visit to him, pre and post op. (It was at this time in my life when I learned why patients are called patients!)

    When I became pregnant with my first child years later, I called Dr. Keim to find out about the possibilities of an epidural and/or spinal for delivery - he told me not a problem, luckily my Lamaze teacher suggested I get a second opinion on that and so I made an appointment with the anesthesiologist (sp?) at the hospital where I was going to give birth - ABSOLUTELY NO WAY could I have an epidural or spinal!!!!!

    When I learned my rod was broken, I called Dr. Keim who told me not to worry, this was normal and there were no side effects - I am now learning through this forum and from research how wrong he was on that one!

    how nice to beable to find a place where one can vent about this, especially now that I find myself with MAJOR pain in my lower back, my right hip (where bone was taken for the fusion), and down my right leg......

    I'd love to hear other "war stories" that may be out there......

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