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Thread: Newbie and a question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Exclamation Newbie and a question

    Hi All!

    I stumbled on this wonderful forum while trying to find some information on orthapedic surgeons.

    I'm 21 and was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 9 or 10. It was actually my mom who noticed my uneven shoulders while helping me braid my hair one night. My pediatrician disagreed, but my mom refused to leave the office until she had a referral to a pediatric orthapedist. Needless to say, I never went back to that pediatrician.

    I wore a brace from around 4th grade to 6th religiously, and then gave in to middle school pressures and wore it not so often from 7th to 8th. Then I was told I no longer needed the brace. I was fine for a few years, maybe some slight soreness, but nothing to major. Now I'm 21 and KNOW that I need to find a doctor. I've lost about 2 inches of height since my senior year of high school. Soreness/ pain has increased.

    Here's my question.

    How did you choose your doctor? This is the first major thing, other than picking a college, that I've had to do. I've read some posts about good doctors in the Denver area, but I'm kind of at a loss of where to even begin and how to choose a doctor. Should I make appointments with multiple doctors?

    Thanks for you help. You are a very warm and knowledgable bunch. I look forward to getting to know you all.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Hello and welcome to the forum!

    While I can't answer how to find a doctor, (I was too young to pick and choose) there are many here who can answer that one, I just wanted to welcome you and let you know there are a lot of great peole on this forum and a great support group.

    Surgeries July 26th & August 3rd 1983 (12 years old)
    Still have 57 degree curve
    2 Harrington rods
    Luque method used
    Dr David Bradford
    Twin Cities Scoliosis Center
    Preop xray (with brace on)
    Postop xray

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Hi AC,

    I personally took my daughter to five different doctors until finding the "right" doctor to do Jamie's surgery. I would have gotten at least two opinions anyway and I recommend you do the same.

    Doctor #1: treated my then 12 y.o. daughter as though she were two years old. Never really spoke to Jamie but acted as though she wasn't even in the room when talking about a plan of action.

    Doctor #2: different doctor, same hospital. Told us that Jamie's Kyphosis wasn't an issue, but the first doctor was more concerned with her Kyphosis than her Scoliosis. (her Kyphosis was in the 70* range and normal is about
    40*, so it was an issue).

    Doctor #3: excellent doctor! Jamie and I loved him immediately! Only problem was, he told us if Jamie progressed to needing surgery, he wasn't equiped to do surgery on a child since he is strictly an adult doctor. When Jamie needs to go for her next check-up, she will be going to this doctor as her surgeon left the state and she will be almost 18 y.o. when she is due for her check-up.

    Doctor #4: awesome doctor! Again Jamie and I loved him immediately! We put Jamie on his surgical list after only meeting him once. Had we not found doctor #5, Dr. Betz (doctor #4) would have done her surgery even though he is more than an hour from where we live.

    Doctor #5: again, awesome doctor! His first words to us were "why are you here?" We thought that was a stupid question until he explained. You were seen by Dr. Betz and are in wonderful hands with him, so why are you here to see me?

    Every doctor that Jamie saw was well qualified. Each doctor had a slightly different plan for Jamie's care-for example, Dr. #1 prescribed a Milwaukee brace to address the Kyphosis and Dr. #2 prescribed a Boston brace to address more of the Scoli instead of the Kyphosi-but it came down to sifting through all the information and deciding on which doctor was easiest to talk to, which one talked more directly to Jamie and made her most comfortable, etc. I would have taken her anywhere in the world to get the best care possible and we were lucky enough to find that person within 20 minutes or so of our house.

    Trust your instincts. As long as you do your research on every doctor you see and know that they are qualified, you sometimes have to trust you gut and go with the one who fits your needs the most.

    Good luck. Sorry this got so long.

    Mary Lou
    Mom to Jamie age 21-diagnosed at age 12-spinal fusion 12/7/2004-fused from T3-L2; and Tracy age 19, mild Scoliosis-diagnosed at age 18.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Thanks Brad!

    I actually got a little more proactive today, after getting over the initial overwhelming feelings. Haha. I called my pediatric orthopedic office, where I got my brace, and am playing phone tag with my doctor's P.A. Turns out, my pediatric doctor might be able to see me. I hope it works out, he was wonderful, we had braces(teeth) at the same time. If that doesn't work out, they were willing to give me some recommendations as well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Mary Lou, don't even worry. You were extremely helpful. Having put scoliosis in the back of my mind, unless i was sore, until i couldn't ignore it anymore, i have forgotten many things. i don't even remember the degrees of my curves anymore. i'm really hoping to be able to see my first doctor even though he is technically pediatric, he would know most of my history. he always made sure that my mom and i were as involved with the whole process as possible. i can't say the same for my doctor in california.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    New Bern, NC
    Hi AC,
    You can go to this website to find a qualified surgeon near you. Sally
    HTML Code:
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F.

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Hello AC,

    Nice to meet someone else from Colorado!! I saw that you use to live in California. My husband is from Escondido. Love it over there but my family is here. My Dr I had since I was 8 retired in May. Well his name was Dr.John Odom and he was located in Lonetree at the Rocky Mountain Spine Clinic. I want to make an appointment for myself in January with Dr. Odom's partner; his name was Dr. Jamrich but I also am wanting to see Dr. Bess in Lonetree also.

    I agree that you need to see a couple of Dr's to see how they are for you! Love to Skate gave you a great website to find a specialist.

    1991 T4 - T12 Fusion
    1993 Rod Removal
    1999 T4-L4 Fusion (7 rib thoracoplasty)
    2002 Rod Removal 58;49 degrees
    Denver, CO; Dr. John Odom
    Rocky Mtn. Spine Center

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Non-surgical solution


    I would also consider finding someone in your area who does SpineCor bracing. I'm in one right now and it is helping my pain. I am 30 and have been in pain since I was 22, which I have come to understand is pretty common. The treatment is 1 to 2 years long depending on your progress, and it's well worth looking into if you are considering surgery. I have spoken with others who are finished with the treatment and are having great success. I would be happy to talk more about it with you. You can email me at

    Lauren Shallcross
    Diagnosed at age 13 with Scoliosis, pain began at age 22, braced with SpineCor brace at age 30.
    Curve measurements on 9/23/08 before Spinecor Brace:
    26 - cervical
    40 - thoracic
    42 - lumbar
    Curve measurements on 10/23/08 with brace:
    23 - cervical
    40 - thoracic
    37 - lumbar

    My pain has decreased significantly, and I'm excited about my 3 month checkup!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    AC, Good luck in your search for a doctor. If you end up seeing a doctor other than your previous pediatric ortho, make sure to get a copy of your file to bring to the new you said, you don't remember what your curves were and other details. This would enable the new doctor to have your history.
    daughter, 12, diagnosed 8/07 with 19T/13L
    -Braced in spinecor 10/07 - 8/12 with excellent in brace correction and stable/slightly decreased out of brace curves.
    -Introduced Providence brace as adjunct at night in 11/2011 in anticipation of growth spurt. Curves still stable.
    -Currently in Boston Brace. Growth spurt is here and curves (and rotation) have increased to 23T/17L

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Euharlee, Georgia
    I used a doctor recommended by this site and was very happy. When choosing a doctor, go with a list of questions and ask them. If it is a good doctor, he/she will answer your questions and maybe others you hadn't thought of. Also take someone else with you and have them ask questions also. You have to feel comfortable with your doctor. My daughter's doctor was very good about answering her questions along with my questions. If you feel like you are just being pushed through an assembly line, find another doctor. Most doctors will tell you that a brace will only help to slow down progression while you are growing. Most will not do surgery until you are at 45 degrees
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

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