Thursday, 25 June 2015

Dundee girl back in the game after spinal treatment

A young Dundee tennis star is back on the court against all the odds — after overcoming a potentially deadly spinal condition which was crushing her lungs.

Poppy Wakeman, 11, was left devastated when she was diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, and was forced to quit her favourite sport.

Her family first noticed that something was wrong when the youngster began complaining of back ache and struggled to keep up during her tennis lessons.

Concerned mum Louise made an emergency appointment with the family GP, who made the  diagnosis, but was told that Poppy would face up to a six-month wait to see a specialist.

Scoliosis is a condition which causes the spine to excessively curve sideways. It affects about 4% of the population and if left untreated it can lead to fatal heart and lung problems.

An operation to treat the condition is a risky procedure, involving metal rods being inserted either side of the spine, before the spine is fused solid.

But aware that the condition needed urgent treatment, Louise searched for other options and found London-based clinic Scoliosis SOS which offers a form of non-surgical treatment.

Poppy was booked on a month-long treatment course and within weeks her condition dramatically improved.

She found she was no longer getting short of breath when exercising and her bubbly personality returned.

Poppy also met other young patients at the clinic, including a girl who had had her spine fused solid.

She learned a set of exercises which strengthened the muscles around her spine and helped to stabilise the condition. Since completing her course of treatment, Poppy has returned home and is now able to run around the tennis court for the first time in months.

She still hopes to one day become a professional player.

Poppy, who lives in West Ferry and attends Craigiebarns Primary School, said: “I am so excited to have found a way of managing my condition and I really am looking forward to a summer filled with tennis.

“I am actually able to enjoy watching Wimbledon this year rather than having to avoid it because I was so envious.

“Tennis is everything to me and it would have broken my heart to give it up.

“I just wanted to be a normal girl and not have to constantly worry about my back.”

Source: Evening Telegraph, 25th June 2015

Wearing a Back Brace to Bed Shaped More Than My Bones


There’s an old adage about the adaptability of kids: They'll consume anything if you feed it to them early enough. They’ll chow down on kimchi without holding their noses, and tackle broccoli without any argument. They'll also acquire a language or two, or maybe learn to play an instrument if so coaxed. The learning curve, in other words, is softened for those with baby teeth.

My early adopted skill was less practical than most.

From ages ten through 14, I was required to wear a back brace to sleep. Designed to correct the curve of my spine, it was made of hard plastic and lined with dense foam. It had three foot-long Velcro straps that looped into buckles on the front. It looked a bit like the Venus de Milo, scooped of her innards, with the arm stump twisted toward the sky.

Since I couldn’t properly apply it myself, someone had to do it for me. My sister, then in high school, was usually tasked. Around 10:30 each night, I’d sheepishly knock on her door and ask her to buckle me in. Most of the time, she was on the phone with her then-boyfriend. I’ll call you back in five, she’d tell him, I’ve got to put my sister to bed.

I’d pull the brace over my head and wriggle it down my middle, settling into the grooves molded to my body. I’d lie flat on the mattress while she looped Velcro through metal, pulling the strap down over its underside. The brace had been made from a plaster cast of my torso. Objectively, it was a perfect fit.

I had a Charleston. Other scoliosis brace models include the Providence, the Boston and the Milwaukee. I had a vague supposition that my brace was so named because the location of the curvature on my back roughly matched up with the positioning of that southern city on the sloping eastern seaboard. I later found the brace was in fact invented in Charleston, South Carolina in 1978.

The Charleston's exaggerated shape, different than the corset-like straightness of other brace models, worked to bend my spine in the opposite direction of the curve. It encased my body and swooped it over to one side, taking my right arm with it. When I wore it, I looked like I was permanently performing the third part of the YMCA.

Once I was buckled in for the night, there was no exit. I tried not to drink too much water before bed and learned to have a very high tolerance for hard-to-reach itches. Sleeping position options were limited to back or stomach. It was difficult to alternate between the two, so I learned to choose wisely early in the night.

My mother bought me a few ultra-breathable undershirts from the doctor, but I didn’t like to wear them. They looked like enormous socks. Instead, I’d wear loose t-shirts; when I peeled off the brace in the morning, the skin underneath looked like the untwisted ends of a candy wrapper.

I’d usually wake up before my right arm did. It would writhe like an unheld hose, often hitting me in the face. As the arm tingled back to life, I’d rip off the brace and throw it on the floor, where it would settle with a jingle and hollow thump.

Dr. Altongy, my orthopedist, had prescribed the brace. Every six months when my mother and I went to see him, I’d tuck my brace under my seat in the waiting room, watching others trying to steal glances, smiling to myself smugly. Dr. Altongy’s office was in the kind of snobbish northern New Jersey town that produced a lot of children with lacrosse injuries. I sat there proudly with my plastic shell, an anomaly amongst the casts and crutches. This was no upper-class accident.

Every time I saw Dr. Altongy, he delivered the same Catskillian schtick about how the curve of my spine was like the curl of his hair. Your spine is perfectly natural, he’d say, pulling at some strands for emphasis. It’s genetic.

However lame the joke, he spoke the truth. My mother and her mother both have a slight curvature, but no one in my family ever required a brace. The only other brace I knew was strapped to the title character of a Judy Blume book, Deenie. Deenie had dreams of becoming a model, but they were sidelined when she was diagnosed with scoliosis. I was five-feet-tall and had braces — I couldn’t relate much to her catwalk dreams.

But I felt emboldened by the isolation. There were no role models to tell me how I should act or what I should do about my condition. It was the ultimate idiosyncrasy. I had a trait foreign to everyone in my small universe, and I cherished it. I think that’s why I was so diligent about wearing it. My brace became an extremity, a personality trait. I would refer to it as my Tupperware, my strait jacket, my mini-me. Nightly discomfort was better than losing my distinguishing feature. (And anything was better than corrective back surgery.)

Over the years, I developed my own schtick. I'd joke about my errant arm with friends at school. Whenever my sister and I shared a bed, I'd threaten to steamroll her. I anthropomorphized the brace, inventing stories about how it longed to leave the confines my bedroom. A few times a year on family trips, or doctor’s visits, the brace did venture out.

I liked the way it looked on a luggage cart or tossed in the trunk of the car. There was something charming about when it was disembodied, and out of its natural habitat. The arabesque bend of the arm imbued it with a sense of life. It looked as if, at any minute, it would take off.

And then one day, I didn't need a brace anymore. My hips locked, my height was determined and my spine was no longer malleable. I stopped wearing it just before high school where, coincidentally, I met another girl who'd worn a brace. Hers had a more svelte, translucent design that hadn't been decorated with stickers. She called it a vest, not a brace. We wore them together for fun at sleepovers.

The two iterations of my night brace, along with the day brace I wore in eighth grade, now live in the back of a closet in my parent's house. I came across them a few years ago when looking for a suitcase. I couldn't believe I'd ever been that small.

Source: The Huffington post, 24th June 2015

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Magnificent Mallory pens book at 16

Magnificent Mallory pens book at 16

Sixteen year-old Mallory Obenauf has penned the book: "MAGNIFICENT MALLORY: Scoliosis Survivor.''


An anxious mother with a struggling teen was on the phone. It was long past a busy family's bedtime, but that meant nothing to Bill Obenauf.

This, he understands, is how it works.

"The mom on the phone asked if her daughter could talk to our daughter, Mallory,'' said Bill (Michaels) Obenauf, of the Dwyer & Michaels disc jockey team on radio station 97X.

"There were some troubling post-surgery issues the daughter was going through," he said. "And like we always do, we said no problem and got Mallory to the phone. And like she always does, Mallory shared her first-hand knowledge and eased the situation with the young lady on the phone.''

It happens all the time.

Mallory is 16-year-old Mallory Obenauf, a one-of-a-kind bundle of positive energy who just completed her sophomore year at Pleasant Valley High School. She stars in the swimming pool, plays in the school band, was a cheerleader, is an honor student, performs with the Backwater Gamblers ski team, loves dance, has a job and is involved in a variety of charitable projects. She plans to be an orthodontist.

If that's not enough, she's also a published author, fresh from penning the 90-page soft-cover book, “MAGNIFICENT MALLORY: Scoliosis Survivor.”

The book recounts Mallory's battle with scoliosis, her lengthy surgery to correct an 85-degree curvature of her spine and the strength and determination she gained from enduring such a surgery.
It's filled with home and hospital photos, a frank and honest description of the tough first few days after surgery and the strong support from her doctor, hospital staff, family and friends.

"The goal has always been to share what I went through and offer anything I can to those going through it,'' Mallory said early this week. "I hope through the book and through personal meetings, I can assist families whose sons or daughters may be faced with needing spinal-fusion surgery.

"I take joy in helping ease their fears about the unknown and to inspire them to believe in themselves; to overcome their challenges.''

The book is just the latest effort in the many ways Mallory Obenbauf has worked to inspire others dealing with the trials and tribulations of scoliosis.

In 2013, she was chosen to travel to Washington, D.C., with her surgeon, Dr. Stuart Weinstein, to be a patient advocate. There, she lobbied for advancement of musculoskeletal research funding, wowing legislators with her knowledge and ability to make her point.

Today, she sits on the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital Youth Advisory Council. There, she provides insight and feedback about her personal experiences and works to improve health care for kids and their families.

She is a recipient of President Barack Obama's Volunteer Service Award, and, since her surgery in 2012, has been awarded the Prudential Spirit of Community Certificate of Excellence.

Steve Grubbs, Davenport's Victory Enterprises CEO, thought so highly of Mallory he enlisted her for his team's speaker's bureau and then took her message to a variety of publishers. Digi-Tall took notice.

"It's been a unique and positive process,'' Mallory said, pausing to thank her dad, mother Donna, sister Megan and brother Zachary for their support. "It's been great for me, and I hope the message will be the same for others.''

The book will be available in print version ($25) June 19, at Digi-Tall Media’s online storefront, Story-e-Books at http://tinyurl.com/npygmu9. An e-Book version will be available soon and be sold from Story-e-Books.com, as well as BookieJar.com.

For more information, email magnificent.mallory.scoliosis@gmail.com.

Source: QConline, 11th June 2015 

12-yr-old girl partially paralyzed, relatives blame docs - NAINITAL

Born with a slightly abnormal spine, 12-year-old Rani Upreti had no problem cycling or attending to her daily needs all by herself like any normal child. However, all this changed when she was operated upon in a private hospital in Dehradun under the NHRM scheme and School Health Programme in June last year.

The operation to get the abnormality (Dorsal Kyphosis) fixed failed miserably as Rani lost her ability to move her body parts from waist down, allegedly due to negligence of doctors involved. Now, permanently confined to the bed, she has developed grade four bed sores.

Acting on a complaint in the matter, the Uttarakhand Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the chief medical officers of Dehradun and Udham Singh Nagar districts and medical superintendent of Himalyan Hospital, Deharadun, on June 2 and asked them to submit reply within six weeks regarding alleged negligence of the medical staff of the private hospital in Dehradun.

The family of the child has been struggling with poverty, anguish and deteriorating condition of their kid. Govind Upreti (38), her father who works as a daily wage labourer said, "I have spent more than Rs 4 lakh on her treatment till date. The doctors of the Himalayan Hospital promised treatment with good results and they destroyed my daughter's life. What do I do? Where do I go?"

Unable to hold back his tears at his daughter's condition, Govind said before the operation, despite her slight abnormality, Rani used to cycle to a nearby government school. "She was an active child who was independent and fun-loving," said the father.

A complaint in this regard was submitted to the Uttarakhand Human Rights Commission on May 26 this year by RTI activist Gurvinder Singh Chaddha. "The condition of the child is an unbearable sight. All I want is justice to be delivered to her. She is suffering because of the ignorance and negligence of the hospital staff," Chaddha alleged.

Taking cognizance of the complaint, the human rights commission wrote in its letter, "Notice be issued to Udham Singh Nagar CMO as well as Dehradun CMO and Medical Superintendent Himalayan Hospital, Dehradun to send the reports within six weeks."

Rani was admitted to the Max Hospital in Dehradun in January this year where her condition was diagnosed as post-operation 'absence of sensation' in her both lower limbs. However, now she is at her home in Rudrapur.

The Himalayan Hospital administration was not available for comment despite repeated attempts. 

Source:  TOI, 10th June 2015

Girl beats rare affliction, posts surgery videos on Youtube

New Delhi: In a heartening instance of courage and positive thinking, a 15-year-old girl who underwent a surgery to correct a rare deformity of the spine has uploaded inspiring pre and post-surgery videos of herself on YouTube to raise awareness about the affliction.

"'Scoliosis will not define me, not ashamed to be called a curvy girl'," is the line with which the video opens.

"That is the message that should be spread, of not letting the disease define you, let's defy the disease," said Rashi, who was diagnosed with Adolescence Idiopathic Scoliosis, a rare and complex deformity of the spine which requires a major surgical intervention for correcting it.

"Rashi's problem was accidentally detected when she went for an X-ray of the chest in connection with a minor lung ailment.

"It was discovered that she had a spinal curvature of 52.08 degrees, a deformity that can both skew the appearance of a person and may cause physical discomfort as the child grows up," said said Dr Vikas Tandon, Consultant, Spine Services, at Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC).

A team of doctors performed a surgery on Rashi to correct the deformity which lasted for nine hours.
"This disorder is very rare. Besides, there is no known cause as to why the spinal curvature of a child becomes suddenly deformed. Since the spine is a very sensitive part of our body and the core of the central nervous system, any mishap in handling it can have a lasting impact on the entire body, which is controlled by the nervous system.

"There is always a risk of nerve damage during such a difficult spinal procedure," said Tandon.

Source: Zee News, 12th June 2015 

Hunchback Woman Grows Almost 2-inches Thanks to 3D Printing & Advanced Surgical Procedure


It seems as though every day there is another interesting story coming out of China, involving both 3D printing and advanced surgical procedures. While laws in the United States are more restrictive, preventing the media from obtaining very much information on individual surgeries, China’s media seems to have been jumping all over the various uses of 3D printing within the operating room. This latest case is quite an extraordinary one.

A 52-year old woman, named Mrs. Wong had been living with a spinal deformity her entire life. Born with a form of scoliosis, which her family did not have the money to treat, she suffered with the condition for over half a century. While she didn’t really experience much physical pain until just recently, she did have to face the daily mockery of being called “Hunchback Lui”. Over the years, the spinal deformity manifested into an embarrassing hunchback. Recently she had begun experiencing severe back pain and decided it was time to visit the doctor.

Wong chose to go to First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, as it is a well respected medical center with very experienced surgeons.

Because of the huge curvature of her spine, Ms. Wong stood at just 4′ 11″ tall at the time of her evaluation. It was discovered that her 12 vertebrae were spinefeatured

severely out of place, forming a hump and creating much discomfort. Doctors said that if she wasn’t treated soon, she would probably eventually suffer a severe spinal cord injury, and perhaps even paralysis.

Surgeons decided that a pin needed to be implanted into Wong’s upper thoracic spine, and it would be a very risky and challenging procedure since a large number of blood vessels, and nerves resided in the area the pin would be inserted into. A minor mistake could lead to the paralysis of Wong. To help make this extremely difficult and risky surgery a bit less challenging, the surgical team opted to create a 3D printed model of Wong’s spine. Using a CT scanner and MRI data, they were able to create a comprehensive virtual model of the spine, before using a 3D printer to actually fabricate an exact replica. Using an inkjet 3D printer, which uses a binding agent to harden layers of power, one layer at a time, it took the team about 10 hours to print out the medical model.

Typically, a surgery like this would require surgeons to make a 10cm incision in the patient and then attempt to place the pin several times before ultimately finding the exact location. Surgery would take a very long time, and recovery afterwards would be very painful and difficult. Thanks to this 3D printed model though, surgeons knew exactly where the pin needed to be placed, after
performing several practice tests on the replica. Surgical time was cut in half, a much smaller incision was required and the inherent risk was highly reduced.


The surgery ended up going extremely well for Wong, and she even grew an additional 4 cm in height. Her recovery is expected to go much better than it would have with a more traditional surgical approach. Surgeons at the hospital hope to advance their use of 3D printing even further by eventually being able to 3D print actual bone that will be inserted into the human body. They are not quite there yet, but hopefully will be within the next two to three years.

Source: 3dprint, 8th June 2015

Rady ranks 2nd nationwide in orthopedics

Radiology technologist Natalie McNeil prepares patient Diana Mondragon for a scan in the EOS imaging system at Rady Children's Hospital Tuesday. The low-dose system is used to create whole-body digital models used to plan treatment for orthopedic patients with conditions such as scoliosis. Radiology technologist Natalie McNeil prepares patient Diana Mondragon for a scan in the EOS imaging system at Rady Children's Hospital Tuesday. The low-dose system is used to create whole-body digital models used to plan treatment for orthopedic patients with conditions such as scoliosis.

Rady Children’s Hospital ranks second nationwide in orthopedics, and is one of 21 hospitals recognized in 10 different specialties, according to a closely watched hospital report released Tuesday.

The rankings appear in the ninth annual “Best Children’s Hospitals” published by U.S. News and World Report, one of several programs that assess hospital quality using a range of often-conflicting criteria.

U.S. News ranks the top 50 pediatric hospitals across 10 categories of care from cancer to urology, drawing from a survey of 183 facilities nationwide.

In 2015, as it has for several years, Rady made the top 50 in all 10 specialties and regained the No. 2 ranking in orthopedics, which it last held in 2012.

However, Rady’s rankings slipped from the previous year in eight of 10 categories considered. Only its orthopedics ranking increased, and the hospital was not among a dozen named to the magazine’s “Hospital Honor Roll,” reserved for those that scored in the top 10 percent in at least three different specialties.

Boston Children’s Hospital was the top-ranked facility nationwide, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles had the best results in California, coming in at No. 7.

Dr. Donald Kearns, Rady’s chief executive, said the report’s recognition, and especially the orthopedic ranking, validates the work of doctors, nurses and staffers who care for patients. “We’re ecstatic that we continue to be rated in all 10 specialties,” Kearns said.

He added that the hospital will comb through the report to determine why some rankings slid compared with last year.

“We will be spending a significant amount of time figuring out where the issues were,” he said.

U.S. News uses a host of criteria for its rankings. Hospitals are given points for offering a broad range of services within individual specialties and also get credit for outcomes, including the number of patients who contracted infections, or died, during treatment.

Physician opinions count for 16.7 percent of the overall calculation.

For Rady, orthopedics has been a consistently high performer. The program has been among the top 10 for years, moving from third to second this year after being listed seventh in 2013 and second in 2012.

Its prominence dates to 1976, when the late Dr. David Sutherland opened the Motion Analysis Laboratory at what was then called San Diego Children’s Hospital. The lab was the first to use computers to recognize human gait patterns, an approach that eventually led to new surgical techniques for patients with cerebral palsy and spina bifida.

Dr. Dennis Wenger and Dr. Scott Mubarak, who worked closely with Sutherland, continued to build the program, innovating new techniques in areas like pediatric hip surgery.

Most recently the hospital was the first in the nation to use a new kind of imaging system called EOS that is shown to deliver a 50-fold lower dose of radiation to scoliosis patients.

Dr. Peter Newton, chief of the orthopedics and scoliosis division at Rady, said the hospital’s orthopedic fellowships have been in demand for decades, which contributes to its performance in the rankings.

"Trainees get a breadth of exposure here and then end up going out all over the world,” Newton said.
Dr. David Scher, a fellow in Rady’s class of 2000 who now practices at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, said Rady’s reputation is understood throughout the community of pediatric orthopedists.

“For many of us around the country, and colleagues around the world, the San Diego program is really the root of the tree that forms our pediatric orthopedic genealogy,” Scher said.

Hospitals, including Rady, are not shy about using the rankings to promote themselves. Though facilities do not pay to be ranked, they do pay U.S. News a licensing fee to use results in promotional material.

This stream of revenue has caused some industry observers to note that publishers have an incentive to rank a large number of hospitals because it increases the chance they will receive licensing revenue from advertising campaigns.

And, while there has been an increase in the number of health ratings and ranking systems, they often measure different things and end up delivering different results.

A study published in March examined four national ranking systems and found that only 10 percent of 844 hospitals rated as a high performer by one program were rated as highly by another system.

Anne Weiss, a director with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said this multiplicity of results does not necessarily mean that ratings systems are flawed but that consumers should realize that they measure different things. For example, U.S. News includes physician opinions, while The Leapfrog Group focuses on safety and Consumer Reports incorporates patient satisfaction reports.

In the end, she said, looking at multiple ratings systems is probably a better idea.

“You have to be an active consumer and understand what they’re measuring and what they’re not,” she said.

Maribeth Shannon, director of the California Health Care Foundation, added that there is a side benefit for consumers even if they tune out ratings and rankings.

“They to provide an incentive for hospitals to get better because they care about how they look in these rankings,” she said.

Weiss agreed.

“There are studies that show that when the information is made public, you see greater improvements in the quality of care,” she said.

Source:  utsandiego, 09th June 2015