Friday, June 29, 2012
Medical Reports: Straighten Up
It's a condition that affects most growing children but rarely requires treatment, unless it becomes severe. 7's Alexis Rivera shows us how surgery can help these kids Straighten Up.
WSVN -- Like most teenagers, Jessica Fernandez is focused on having fun this summer.
But almost two years ago, the 16-year-old was facing a serious condition.
Jessica Fernandez, Had Scoliosis: "My whole body was becoming more lopsided. My curvature was completely off on my stomach."
Jessica had scoliosis, and it was getting worse.
Nelson Fernandez, Jessica's Dad: "Her hips were becoming even more lopsided, her shoulder blade was protruding even more."
Dr. Michael Jofe, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital: "Scoliosis is essentially a curve of the spine."
They went to see Dr. Michael Jofe at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. He says a mild amount of scoliosis is normal, but...
Dr. Michael Jofe, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital: "Once the scoliosis has progressed beyond a certain degree, then it needs to be treated."
Dr. Jofe says scoliosis can affect both boys and girls.
Symptoms are a curving of the back, and the shoulders and pelvis are not level.
In its most severe forms, it can be life-threatening.
Dr. Michael Jofe, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital: "The scoliosis affects the spine, and it also affects the chest, so it can affect the heart and the lungs."
Jessica was feeling a lot of pressure.
Jessica Fernandez, Had Scoliosis: "It was just really hard to take deeper breaths the more progressive it got."
It was also affecting her self-esteem.
Jessica Fernandez, Had Scoliosis: "I felt uncomfortable in some clothes. I wouldn't wear tank tops, because I felt self-conscious."
Dr. Jofe recommended surgery to straighten Jessica's spine.
Dr. Michael Jofe, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital: "Here are the rods and the screws that we used to attach the rods to the spine, and her curve, which was severe, is essentially gone."
After the operation, she shot up almost two inches.
Nelson Fernandez, Jessica's Dad: "It was a visible difference. I mean, when she stood next to me, it was odd to see that all of a sudden, she was almost my height."
Now, Jessica has no limitations. She loves to work out, and is on her school's cheerleading team.
Most importantly, she feels good about herself.
Jessica Fernandez, Had Scoliosis: "My whole body, it feels like it should be. It feels normal, like every other person is. I really have no differences than anybody else."
Alexis Rivera: "It takes about six weeks to recover after surgery, and most patients don't need physical therapy."
For more information about the Scoliosis Program and to arrange a consultation for your child, please call Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Division of Pediatric Orthopedics at 954-265-6300.