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Surgery helps repair young athlete’s severe scoliosis

When Amanda Davis first noticed something wrong with her daughter C’aira’s posture it was just another summer day.
“She was running around outside in a swimsuit and I noticed her shoulder blade peeking out and I asked her, ‘Are you OK? Did you hurt something?’ And she says, ‘No, I feel OK.’ And later that night I had her bend over and I could immediately see that hump,” said Amanda Davis.
The Davises went to Sanford Health, where they found out her spine had curved so much that she had severe scoliosis.
“It was like really crazy how I was so curved into my own back that I really didn’t feel anything,” said C’aira, 13. “I didn’t have any pain for it. So I kind of just grew with it. It didn’t really bother me until I started playing volleyball.”
Dr. Mohammed Waseemuddin, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Sanford Fargo was brought in to look at C’aira’s back.
“C’aira was one of those bad scoliosis cases where, when she saw me, she had a scoliosis measuring 86 degrees. That was a very significant scoliosis that she had. But it’s not like you get up just one day and you have an 80-degree curve in your back,” said Dr. Waseemuddin. “In C’aira’s case, she had a growth spurt, and then the curve which she might have already had just got to 86 degrees.”
Scoliosis is defined as a curvature of the spine measuring 10 degrees or more.
Most people with scoliosis don’t need surgery. In fact, 80-90% can be treated with bracing or just through observation. But for C’aira, the curve was so severe it even affected her lung capacity. She would need surgery, which required fusing some of her spine together, along with placing rods and screws in her back.
“That’s pretty intimidating to find out right away,” said Amanda Davis.
Dr. Waseemuddin’s care helped put the family at ease.
“He was in every single day and making sure that he was calling in, checking her stats. He was really attentive and that really made us feel at ease knowing that he was there for her no matter what. He had the best interest for her. That’s the only thing you can ask for as a parent,” said Amanda Davis.
The surgery plan moved forward.
“Scoliosis is just not about making the spine straight. It is about a balance,” said Dr. Waseemuddin. “So it is just not the spine you’re focused on. You’re looking at everything else too.”
C’aira now has a curve of roughly 20 degrees. Her hunch is gone, her shoulders are leveled, and she’s no longer tilted at the pelvis. Contact sports are out of the question, but she can bend to 90 degrees and has no pain.
“It was really crazy and it kind of broke my heart just a bit, how bad it was. It made me want to cry a lot, but I’m really happy that I got help and that it actually is better than it used to be,” said C’aira.
“Even though it seems like it wasn’t a good situation, look at her now. And the life that she’s going to be able to live,” said Amanda Davis. “She’s free to be a kid and that’s the best thing a parent can say.”
“It’s just like really awesome that it doesn’t hurt anymore. And I’m just like finally free,” said C’aira.

Posted In Children’s, Fargo, Orthopedics

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