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Thread: The "Art" of Dr. Lenke

  1. #1
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    The "Art" of Dr. Lenke

    I've never publicly posted my daughter's xrays or photos before but decided to because I wanted to sing my praises to Dr. Lenke. I think her outcome is amazing. You can view them in the link in my sig. As Sharon (Pooka) pointed out, this is artistry when done well. He's a genius at his craft. He's also a prolific researcher and teacher and soon to be president of the SRS.

    I would highly recommend him if you have the means to and the time. I understand his waiting list is now even longer than our 8 month wait. We traveled from Houston to St. Louis 5 times and believe me, not without our share of problems but was well worth it. After much consideration, I figured picking the right surgeon was the most critical factor and would outweigh any inconveniences we had to go through in the short term.

    Good luck to all having surgery and Happy New Years.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sherie View Post
    I understand his waiting list is now even longer than our 8 month wait.
    Since our surgeon only does pediatric, I am thinking of putting both my daughters on Lenke's waiting list now just in case they ever need a revision.

    I would not be surprised if he showed your daughter's radiographs at his talks as an example of how even large, rotated curves can be corrected to normal in all planes with the new instrumentation.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  3. #3
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    Hello Sherie,
    I am scheduled for surgery by Dr. Lenke in July. I go on May 26th for my preop appt. I have a 90+ degree curve and am in tremendous pain all day every day of my life. I have significantly decreased lung capacity along with numbness, tingling and lots of muscle spasms. I saw Dr. Lenke for the first time last July and he diagnosed me immediately and told me exactly what he needed to do to achieve significant improvement in my curve. He was very conscientious, professional and very compassionate and understanding of my discomfort. His office staff were very understanding. Although the wait has been way more to endure that I ever counted on I have never considered having this done by anyone else. Dr. Lenke came highly recommended by my orthopedic surgeon and after I saw Dr. Lenke the one time I knew right away that he was the dr I wanted to fix this horrible curve I have that seems to be ever increasing and causing me such pain. I can't tell you how much I enjoy hearing all these wonderful things about Dr. Lenke and I enjoyed your pictures. They are wonderful pictures. I cannot even imagine ever being that straight after being this curved for so many years. I never dreamed I'd be in such pain now. I envy those who do not experience any pain at all. I am so glad you had a good experience with Dr. Lenke. If you have any tidbits of information I need to know about your experience I would appreciate it. How long your hospital stay was, amount of pain you had postop, etc. I am, of course, dreading my hosp experience altogether, but I am very excited to know that I will not have to be in this horrible pain forever.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pooka1 View Post
    Since our surgeon only does pediatric, I am thinking of putting both my daughters on Lenke's waiting list now just in case they ever need a revision.

    I would not be surprised if he showed your daughter's radiographs at his talks as an example of how even large, rotated curves can be corrected to normal in all planes with the new instrumentation.
    Hopefully, with the new generation of hardware, that won't happen but it never hurts to have a backup plan.

    Actually, he wanted to film her surgery for educational purposes, which I was all for but my husband was against so I didn't push it. The whole situation was already too stressful for us to argue over that.

  5. #5
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    Hi Rita

    I'm so sorry to hear you're suffering so much. My daughter was having a lot of discomfort and pain in her lumbar area so I can only imagine what you must be going through with such a large curve. I hope surgery will help you.

    Dr. Lenke told me this about surgery and pain relief:
    80% of patients will have an improvement in pain
    10% will have no improvement
    10% will get worse

    Fortunately, my daughter was in the 80%. I'm sure her age has much to do with that. She was 15 at the time of surgery.

    Sheena was in the children's hospital, so can't help you much there except to say that it was top notch. Everyone who came to see Sheena was excellent. My one complaint was that there was a separate pain management team. They could have handled her transition from morphine to orals better, even Dr. Lenke was upset over that and was on the verge of taking control when it finally worked out.

    She was in for 8 days, we stayed an extra night in the hotel and then flew home on Thanksgiving Day. That was the best thing we did, there were only 17 people on our flight so Sheena had an entire row of seats to lay on, otherwise, I don't think she could have made it. I would have gladly bought 2 more seats, but did not know that she couldn't handle it. We lucked out. I think since your an adult, you'll probably plan to stay longer in town than we did.

  6. #6
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    the more that i read about dr lenke...the more i think maybe i should be flying to st louis...is that missouri? maybe instead of /or after i fly to CA...his work sounds really impressive...& it seems to impress other scoli surgeons, too!

    i am going to look into this...i understand that he has a looooonng waiting time...but i can wait...i have been running around in a circle about the surgery decision for over a year now....what's a little more waiting!

    happy new year, everybody...
    jess

  7. #7
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    Hello All,
    I can tell you - as long as I have waited for Dr. Lenke, saw him one time and I was IMPRESSED! He is worth the wait - of course, I'm still waiting long time till July for my surgery, but I am confident I have the best dr behind me! And, these posts only make my confidence even higher. Of course, while I sit here New Years Day in my chair, on the heat pad and having taken two pain pills for the day already (!) it is always nice to hear how wonderful your doctor is. And, I trust my orthopedic doctor locally also in that he's saying he wants no one else to do my surgery except Dr. Lenke. I have no reason to go anywhere else. But, keep all the good thoughts coming my way. I will love hearing them for sure....

  8. #8
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    Hi Sherie,

    Thanks for sharing the photos--your daughter's back looks beautiful. The before and after are truly amazing. One interesting thing I notice about your daughter's back is there is a screw on each side on every single level, which is maybe why he can get such an outstanding result, I am not sure. I have seen a number of other post-op x-rays that showed more screws on one side or the other, sometimes with just a few screws on one side. I was never sure why this was.

    I'm glad things turned out so well for your family. Happy New Year.
    Gayle, age 49
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    5/10 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    5/16 6 yrs post-op, 24*T/ 22* L, mild increase in curves, watching

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  9. #9
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    Your daughter's pics are just stunning. Fantastic to see. What an incredible talking point for the rest of her life!

    I have to agree, getting the best surgeon is the most critical part of this journey. I am sure there are many good ones out there but it leaves me wondering what happens to the up and coming ones - where do they get the experience if we are all lining up for the best and most experienced surgeons?
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrnyc View Post
    the more that i read about dr lenke...the more i think maybe i should be flying to st louis...is that missouri? maybe instead of /or after i fly to CA...his work sounds really impressive...& it seems to impress other scoli surgeons, too!

    i am going to look into this...i understand that he has a looooonng waiting time...but i can wait...i have been running around in a circle about the surgery decision for over a year now....what's a little more waiting!

    happy new year, everybody...
    jess
    Yes, he's in Missouri. If you're already willing to travel, you may want to consider him. He has a good website if you haven't looked at it yet. Just google Lawrence Lenke.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by leahdragonfly View Post
    Hi Sherie,

    Thanks for sharing the photos--your daughter's back looks beautiful. The before and after are truly amazing. One interesting thing I notice about your daughter's back is there is a screw on each side on every single level, which is maybe why he can get such an outstanding result, I am not sure. I have seen a number of other post-op x-rays that showed more screws on one side or the other, sometimes with just a few screws on one side. I was never sure why this was.

    I'm glad things turned out so well for your family. Happy New Year.
    Thank you, it was a relief to have such a good outcome. We specifically asked about the number of screws before surgery, I think he typically uses screws at all levels for better correction and stability but it also results in more blood loss. Obviously, opinion varies widely on this topic and must be more of a personal preference.
    Last edited by Sherie; 01-02-2010 at 11:09 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferG View Post
    Your daughter's pics are just stunning. Fantastic to see. What an incredible talking point for the rest of her life!

    I have to agree, getting the best surgeon is the most critical part of this journey. I am sure there are many good ones out there but it leaves me wondering what happens to the up and coming ones - where do they get the experience if we are all lining up for the best and most experienced surgeons?
    I thought about that too. I know a lot of surgeons work at Shriner's or TSRH, not to say they're practicing because these are already highly trained surgeons, but they do gain a lot of experience and it's wonderful for people who couldn't afford the surgery otherwise. I also think some patients don't necessarily get multiple opinions and are happy with the first surgeon they talk to so I don't think it's really a problem. I'm sure we could have gotten great results from other surgeons, too.

  13. #13
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    Going to see Dr. Lenke...

    I have an appointment to see Dr. Lenke on March 24th. I know that he is scheduling surgery now for summer of 2011, and I was hoping to have the surgery this summer (I am a teacher) but I am willing to wait if need be.

    Dr. Lonner told me that what Dr. Lenke does is "the epitome of what we do" but he told me he considered it too risky for me. He quoted a study where out of 35 children who had the procedure, 3 had "permanent neurological damage." I will definitely ask Dr.Lenke about this.

    I would think the results of the study would vary according to the skill of the surgeon.

    I am 57 with a 90 degree thoracic curve, but with no pain! I am looking for the best cosmetic correction I can get, as well as stopping the progression.

    I will post after my visit in March. Thanks for sharing so much info. Sherie, Your daughter's correction is amazing! All the best, Joy

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by joyfull View Post
    Dr. Lonner told me that what Dr. Lenke does is "the epitome of what we do" but he told me he considered it too risky for me. He quoted a study where out of 35 children who had the procedure, 3 had "permanent neurological damage." I will definitely ask Dr.Lenke about this.
    What procedure is he talking about?
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  15. #15
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    Hi Sharon
    not sure if dr lonner was referring to the "reach around" thing so 2 incisions on 2 different sides are not needed...or if it is something else...

    i love dr lonner...he has always been my favorite scoli surgeon-person...he has followed me for 5 years, & i expect to go to see him after CA....really want to know what he thinks, cause i've always been told that less invasive isnt for me with my low lumbar curve...

    am thinking of a consult with dr lenke..i realize it could take a year just to get in...after seeing other doctors..i know it sounds like i am shopping & just putting off the fusion..BUT..it is so permanent a thing (yeah, obvious, but mind blowing to me) that i just dont want to do it until/unless i feel sure...& the less invasive the better...fusion to the pelvis freaks me...lots of people on forum tell me it is not as bad as it sounds...BUT...it still freaks me..& hearing about several people on this forum doing whatever they can to AVOID fusion to pelvis adds to the freak!!

    so..long story short...off to CA i go jan 25th (just booked)..anyone have any hotel suggestions?

    thanks...happy new year, all....
    jess
    Last edited by jrnyc; 01-02-2010 at 11:35 PM.

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