New Scoliosis Surgery Improves BC Kid’s Life

December 8, 2009 at 3:48 pm 4 comments

As Angelina pointed out in her last post, spinal surgery has made incredible advancements in recent years.

When a family and pediatrician are discussing surgery to correct their child’s scoliosis, there are many factors to consider, including improved health, recovery time and improved self-esteem.

Even ten years ago, recovery included weeks of lying in bed and months of intensive physiotherapy. Kids were left with large scars, as reminders of the surgery.

Today however, thanks to the work Dr. Firoz Mizanji is doing at BC Children’s Hospital, children come out of surgery with a noticeably straight back, minimal scaring and able to walk out of the Hospital within days.

Cathy shares her son, Johnathon’s story with us.

Our son Johnathon had major spinal surgery on May 25, 2009 at the age of 17 years. He was born with scoliosis and by grade two he was wearing a back brace 23 hours, daily.

John was fortunate enough to have his brace engineered by Robert Ford, and his careful designs gave our son a very comfortable fit through his years growing up. It appeared that the brace would keep his curve in check and that surgery would more than likely not have to happen.

 By the time Johnathon had reached the age of 16, however, the brace could no longer keep his curve under control – his spine had reached a curve up into the 70 degree range.

Although Dr. Tredwell, who had cared for John throughout his 16 years of Children’s visits, had retired we were introduced to a great duo of Dr. Reilly and Dr. Miyanji who let us know that John would have to undergo spinal surgery.

The thought of surgery was a big pill for John to swallow, but he took it like a man and waited for his surgery date.

 As parents, my husband and I were so fearful of the thought of our son having such an invasive surgery but we knew our boy had to move forward and have it done. We could see his self-esteem dropping little by little as his torso was twisting and a large hump was protruding from his back. John wanted it done and over with, so we had to be courageous for him.

 Both Dr. Reilly and Dr. Miyanji performed a 15 hour-long surgery on our son – we could not believe that two individuals could actually stand on their feet and focus for that length of time….they looked exhausted when they were done.

It was nearly 2 am by the time John was wheeled into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and my husband and I cautiously walked in to see our son, who was still under anesthetic with tubes and wires coming out everywhere.

We had been so fearful it was gift enough just to see that he had pulled through a surgery of that duration. But to look down at his torso and see how John’s surgeons and their team had reconstructed his upper body – that was unbelievable.

John’s father and I looked at one another and were absolutely amazing at what they had accomplished; John now looked like his older brother so straight and beautiful. I always say Dr. Reilly and Dr. Miyanji gave John back the body God meant him to have.

 We cannot say enough what an incredible team BC Children’s has. The whole team, including the nurses and physiotherapists, gave our boy such fantastic care. As I am emailing this note I am looking outside watching John rake up and bags the Autumn leaves. He swims four days a week and is leading an active life. He is thrilled with his new torso and says he is so happy and grateful to have had such a great team look after him. He says he never regrets for one moment having the surgery done.

 Thank you so much from all of us.

Cathy, Nanaimo BC


Entry filed under: At the Hospital, Terra.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Melanie Jackson  |  December 8, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    That is such a lovely story. My own daughter was at Children’s for a while when she was a preemie. I have very fond memories of everyone there.

  • 2. amanda  |  December 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    This is a really great story to hear,as our Daughter was diagnosed with scoliosis in November of 2010.Now her curve is at 72.5 degrees and we have a surgery date Febuary of 2012.

    • 3. BCCHF Communications  |  December 12, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      Thanks Amanda for your comment. I am glad to hear you found this story helpful.

      • 4. ANGELA  |  January 24, 2012 at 1:26 am

        my name is angela i have a 7 year old son we just got told by doctor we are going to be sent to childrens hospital cause his scoliosis is growing rapidly how do you feel about surgery

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