Most parents do not imagine scheduling a major surgery for their child. Tim and Angie Amanns found themselves doing just that – not once, but twice – as their daughters faced crippling diagnoses. Rachel and Ruby Amanns were both diagnosed with scoliosis in their early teens.
Scoliosis is a condition where the spine becomes curved or rotated. It is most common in late childhood and early teens, and in some cases, scoliosis can cause deformities or disabling pain. Typically, scoliosis can be corrected by wearing a back brace. Back braces are used to control the progression of the curve; they help most patients avoid major surgery. But for 25 – 35 percent of scoliosis cases, the back brace is not enough or their curve is too big, and they must have surgery. This was the case for both Rachel and Ruby.
Corrective surgery for scoliosis cannot be performed until a child’s body has finished growing. Therefore, at age 17, the eldest Amanns daughter underwent the surgery first. Three years later, her sister Ruby would have a similar procedure when she turned 17. Dr. Cameron Sears, an orthopedic surgeon at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, performed both surgeries.
Dr. Sears and fellow orthopedist Jay Crawford, M.D. perform approximately 50 – 70 scoliosis surgeries at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital each year. “We are essentially the only doctors in East Tennessee who do them,” says Dr. Sears. “That includes healthy kids like the Amanns sisters, as well as children who have scoliosis due to more involved health issues like cerebral palsy, spina bifida, congenital deformity or other syndromes.”
Read the full story from It's About Children magazine here.
Written by Leandra Wilkins