02 August 2008

Girl Suffering from Scoliosis to Get Newly Approved Procedure

A local teenager couldn't figure out why it was hard to sleep at night, why she had back and chest pain all the time, and why it was so difficult to work out. Then, her aunt saw her in a bathing suit and told her, she was afraid something was terribly wrong.

That was 2-years ago, when Torri Connorty was diagnosed with scoliosis, or abnormal curvature of the spine. Now, she's meeting with doctors at Shriner's Hospital in Houston, mapping out a plan for 2-surgeries.

First, doctors will have to go in through her chest and deflate one of her lungs and remove some ribs. Then, in a second surgery, her surgeon, Dr. Rex Marco, will use new hardware, recently approved by the Federal Drug Administration.

It's actually made of cloth strips, instead of screws or metal wires. Because it's soft, doctors say this lowers her chances of suffering spinal cord injury or even paralysis, during surgery.

Torri will have to be in the hospital almost 2-weeks, to recover. Then she'll undergo weeks of rehabilitation. She says it will be well worth it, because she's sick of fellow students making fun of her. Torri says she's the shortest person in her class, and tired of it. Her surgeon says this surgery will lengthen her spine and make her a few inches taller.

Doctors say you should have your child's pediatrician take a look at their backs in 4th or 5th grade. If you're looking at home, here are a few warning signs:

1. One hip is higher than the other.
2. One shoulder is higher than the other.
3. One shoulder blade protrudes from the back.
4. Their head isn't centered over their body.
5. Have your child bend forward at the waist, are their ribs higher on one side?
6. The waistline is flat on one side and not flat on the other.

Click here to see the full video story by FOX 26's Melissa Wilson.

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