Two Sisters Undergo 'Back-To-back' Spinal Surgeries in Paterson

Source: North Jersey.com
Imagine the strength it takes for a parent to watch her little daughter brave five to six hours of spinal surgery to correct a life-threatening condition. Not to mention what it will take to be there round-the-clock for the recovery period to follow.
Then take that strength — and multiply it by two.
…Karleen Bradbury, whose two daughters, Elizabeth, 9, and Antoinette, 11, simultaneously underwent the same major spinal surgeries in side-by-side operating rooms yesterday at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, part of St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson.
Both girls have severe scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth-spurt years of adolescence. If left untreated, their health – their very lives – may be threatened as certain organs become restricted by a rib cage that tightens as the spine continues to curve out of control.
Doctors don’t know what causes scoliosis, but it apparently involves hereditary factors as the condition generally runs in families, according to medical experts.
The girls…have…an 85-degree curvature of their spines. Most children with scoliosis have curvatures of less than 50 degrees.
If the spine’s curve is kept to 50 degrees or less by the time skeletal maturity is reached during teenage years, it will not advance further in adult life and will not present the kinds of health issues faced by the Bradburys, according to Emami. If it goes beyond 50 percent, it can keep progressing.
“The rib cage will rotate with the spine,” Dr. Arash Emami explained. “As a result, the space where the lungs are can be compromised because it closes off the space for the lungs. In curvatures of more than 70 degrees, there can be breathing problems, shortness of breath, and pulmonary-related disease. As the curve progresses beyond 70 degrees, it can affect the heart as well. It can have a significant impact on general overall health and longevity.”

“Summertime is a great time for parents to see their kids on the beach, in their swimwear,” Dr. Michael Faloon said.

“Look from behind for any signs of crooked shoulders or a crooked backline. Or sometimes, people will say, ‘One leg is shorter than the other.’ But really, it is scoliosis causing an asymmetry in the lower back.”

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