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Thread: Surgery scheduled for 6/16 with Dr. Vitale

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Surgery scheduled for 6/16 with Dr. Vitale

    Very nervous of course. We were tentatively scheduled with Dr. Green at HSS; he's been following our son since age 9 (he's 14 now, 15 next week). Then we went back for follow ups with Dr. Betz and Dr. Vitale about 2 weeks ago.
    Dr. Betz has a 10 month queue. If we didn't want to wait, he strongly counseled us to use a spine specialist. That made sense to us, and Dr. Green is a general pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Vitale had originally seen Spencer back in November and said no rush, but when we came back, he noted significant progression of Spencer's thorocolumbar curve--from 42 to 51 degrees in five months. He had time in his schedule in June, so here we go.
    Dr. Betz's team was suggesting a rib shortening procedure as well as the fusion--Spencer has a fairly significant rib hump--but Dr. Vitale says that it can interfere with lung function later in life and he pretty much won't do it. Has anyone else had experience with this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Hi Trav86, I can share my experience with you. However, each case is different. In my case, modern medical marvels at correction seem to have post dated me. At age 39, I had 7 ribs resected due to a significant thoracic rib hump and 3 more resected at age 43. My thoracic curve was 97 degrees. The surgeon was unable to correct the curve. This made a big difference in my self esteem. However, it was a two edge sword. At age 55, I began to have significant breathing problems, use a bi-pap at night. I'm now age 65 and have a lung volume of 30%. My pulmonologist says that the rib resections in addition to the severity of the curve have shortened my life span. You may notice that the correction your son will achieve during surgery may significantly improve the appearance of his back so that he is less bothered by it. I wish you and your son the best as you proceed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    You may already be aware of this, but Dr. Vitale and Dr. Betz are good friends and often consult on cases. I'm sure they'd be happy to discuss your son's case and the latest developments with each other. At least you would know the case was looked at from all sides right up to the time of surgery.

    Best of luck and please keep us posted.
    Last edited by mariaf; 04-01-2010 at 03:51 PM.
    Mom to David, age 17, braced June 2000 to March 2004
    Vertebral Body Stapling 3/10/04 for 40 degree curve (currently mid 20's)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    I totally understand the dilemma here. My Braydon (turning 15 in May) has a significant rib hump. It bothers him because sitting against anything hard (hard chair back, hard bench, hard anything) or laying on the floor is something he tries to avoid. Hurts too much. His current lung function is 40% (actually 39%, but we say 40% for good measure). If they do a thoracoplasty (reduce the rib hump) it "could" restrict lung function more. The left side is his rib hump. The left lung has been his "good" lung. The right lung has grown over the years and on CT scan, it appears the same size as the left. We're hoping there is a modification of the rib reduction (thoracoplasty) so the rib hump won't be a problem all through his adult life. I'll be following your experiences with Dr. Vitale (I've heard very good things about him!) and the decisions you make. Best wishes to you.
    mom to Kara, idiopathic scoliosis, Blake 19, GERD and Braydon 14, VACTERL, GERD, DGE, VEPTR #137, thoracic insufficiency, rib anomalies, congenital scoliosis, missing coccyx, fatty filum/TC, anal stenosis, horseshoe kidney, dbl ureter in left kidney, ureterocele, kidney reflux, neurogenic bladder, bilateral hip dysplasia, right leg/foot dyplasia, tibial torsion, clubfoot with 8 toes, pes cavus, single umblilical artery, etc.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Thanks for all your thoughtful replies. Wishing, your post is very instructive, but I am so sorry to hear of your difficulties. Maria, Dr. Betz has spoken very highly of Dr. Vitale which makes me more comfortable with our decision. Carmell, the doctor did say he thought he could achieve a significant improvement in the rib hump without the thoracoplasty. I will keep you and everyone posted. Thanks again.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    My daughter had surgery with Dr. Vitale's partner, Dr. Roye last summer. Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital is an excellent hospital. Everyone that works there is so kind and helpful. It is one of the top hospitals in the US. I felt very good that she was being taken care of by such a qualified group of doctors and nurses. I am a nurse myself, so I might be a little more critical, and I was very impressed.

    Daughter April had surgery July 13th, 2009 by Dr. David P Roye at Morgan Stanley Childrens Hospital. T2-L4
    She's doing very well!!

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