From Jessica's Doctor's Perspective
At 14, Jessica had a spinal fusion done with a Harrington rod, in Puerto Rico. She had always had difficulties standing straight, but she had noticed this was getting worse in recent years. She also had increasing back pain which even awoke her at night. She continued to manage to stay very active, but was concerned about increasing pain. When her spine surgeon first met Jessica, she was impressed by how much she leaned forward, as well as how well she managed to compensate over the years. She was young, healthy, and she worked hard to stay active.
After carefully considering all of her options, Jessica opted for revision surgery. Because she had been fused down to L5, it was necessary to perform anterior osteotomies and fusion, followed two days later by a posterior fusion with osteotomies and instrumentation to include her prior fusion.
She is pleased that she can stand normally and that she has no pain. Her back and leg do not get tired after a long day, and she feels like she is able to do all the normal things again. Most importantly, she looks great and is no longer staring at the floor when she walks. Jessica had become very accustomed to standing and walking the old way, that standing upright felt different but wonderful. Jessica has been walking and exercising without pain since her surgery in January. It has been a pleasure working with such a well-motivated patient!
From Jessica's Perspective
I had scoliosis surgery in the 1980's with Harrington Rod instrumentation. Throughout the years, I had been a runner and never had serious issues. Towards the end of 2008 I started to have a series of back pain episodes. Also, I started to notice that it was becoming more difficult and unpleasant to run; even walking felt different. I went online to find out more and was surprised to find out about the effects of the Harrington Rod. My spine surgeon diagnosed me with flatback syndrome and explained about the correction surgery for my case. I knew that I could wait, possibly years, but given how much I was leaning forward, I decided to go through the surgery sooner rather than later. I knew that as time went on, my body wouldn't be able to keep up compensating for the flatback, things would only get worse and I did not want to wait for that. I was young, healthy and fit, which I hoped would help during surgery and recovery. My surgery was in January 2010; and as it turned out for me, recovery from surgery went much easier and faster than I expected.
After so many years of literally having a “flat back” and forward leaning posture, it is hard to describe just how wonderful it is to be able to stand up straight. I can stand upright without having to bend my knees. No more awkward gait, no more looking at the floor all the time and no more tired legs at the end of the day. I feel great. Now, I have a perfect lumbar curve and I just love my new posture. I'm standing straight and tall and I'm extremely happy!