Oscar Hill

First post: Feb 8, 2016 Latest post: Feb 25, 2016
Oscar will be undergoing spine surgery to correct his scoliosis on February 8th at Kravis Children's Hospital (Mt. Sinai) in NYC. We created this site to keep friends and family up to date on the surgery and his recovery.

Oscar was first diagnosed with a 10 degree scoliosis when he was 2 years old. Over the years the numbers crept higher and soon he developed a compensatory thoracic curve too. Every 4-6 months he's endured xrays and check-ups that invariably come with stern reminders to be vigilant about trunk strengthening. We tried cranio-sacral therapy, swimming, erging, and therapeutic horseback riding to help combat progression, but working on Oscar's incredibly low trunk tone could be a full time job and it was hard to keep up. We've been to see orthopedic surgeons at all the major local medical centers plus Shriner's St. Louis, Shriner's Sacramento, and now at the Institute for Spine and Scoliosis in New Jersey. He wore a brace in 2nd grade for about a year, until one physician thought he was stable enough to remove it. He got his second brace just after 7th grade when his curve increased again and will be so glad to throw that off the hospital rooftop! It's uncomfortable and cumbersome and time-consuming...and I know that his trunk muscles are only weaker for being in that thing 24 hours a day.

Oscar's curves currently measure 38 degree T9-L3 and 37 degrees T2-T9. At least that is what the surgeon at Stanford Children's measured in December. I'm pretty sure the compensatory thoracic curve has increased even since then.

The surgery he'll be having  - vertebral tethering (http://www.spineandscoliosis.com/procedures/scoliosis-treatment/vertebral-body-tethering-vbt-a-less-invasive-scoliosis-treatment/http://) -- is less invasive than traditional fusion (rod) surgery, preserves motion, and patients recover more quickly. (No restrictions after six weeks if all goes well!) Our hope is that tethering the lumbar curve will encourage at least partial correction of the thoracic curve. Unlike fusion surgery, tethering allows the patient to continue to grow. (And the curve actually straightens as the patient grows) Part of the guesswork is estimating how much growth is left...and that is especially tricky in a kid who has been on growth hormone his entire life and recently started testosterone injections as well.

I'll post updates here -- more at the beginning probably as Oscar gets through the first milestones!

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