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scoliosis - 4. page

Anthony’s Big Surgery

We spent 4 hours at the hospital Monday for Anthony’s pre-operative testing. On Monday October 2, Anthony will have his spinal fusion surgery to correct his scoliosis. They had trouble getting blood and were not able to get enough to do all the tests they wanted. They said they will put in a central line in the OR, since his veins are so bad. They said he will probably be on a vent post-op too, due to his base-line condition and swelling from the surgery. The surgery will take 8-10 hours and he will be face down most of the time. He was catheterized for a urine specimen (he did not like that!), had a chest x-ray, met with anesthesia, etc., etc. Rough day, but Anthony sailed right through. He has no idea what’s coming…

A bit about scoliosis. Scoliosis is an abnormal curve in the back. Kids with cerebral palsy have a high incidence of scoliosis which often becomes severe as Anthony’s has. This can lead to sitting and positioning problems for kids who are wheelchair dependent, and ultimately leads to respiratory and cardiac problems. Anthony has a 70% curve and will be fused from T-3 (3rd thoracic vertebra) down to his sacrum. A spinal fusion is a “welding” process by which the vertebrae are fused together with bone grafts and hardware (screws and metal rods) are used to hold the back in place so that it heals like a single solid bone. I hope to get before and after photos of Anthony’s spine.

Here’s a diagram of the back so that you can see this surgery will cover most of his back, very big incision and the possibility of lots of complications. But Anthony is a strong boy and we are hoping for a successful surgery and smooth recovery period. He will be in the hospital 1 – 2 weeks, and will be in the ICU after surgery and will stay in the unit as long as he needs to be there. He will be out of school for 6 – 8 weeks, and will take 6 months to a year for a full recovery. But in the long run, this procedure should greatly improve his quality of life.