Surgeons have been correcting severe scoliosis for decades. They straightened the spine, but didn't have the ability to correct the rotation, so a telltale rib hump still protruded after surgery. However, one doctor devised a way to address all of that in one operation without adding time or cost.
Audrey Beaman can now it or stand without discomfort, after scoliosis surgery to correct a 62-percent curvature.
"There was a lot of other stuff going on at that point, but feeling that immediate release was everything. It was amazing," Beaman said.
Beaman wanted a straight spine, but not the rib hump, the bulge that often remains after surgery.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"I could see it in all the pictures we would take, and I just felt like I was so different," she said.
Dr. Robert Rovner, an orthopedic spine surgeon in Danville, Calif., devised a way to fix the rotation. He puts two screws in each vertebrae and using extensions, straightens each bone into neutral until the whole spine is aligned and de-rotated, and then secures it all with rods.
"If you're going to go through this operation, you'd like to at least fix the cosmetic part of it as well, and that's never been ignored, but has never been allowed to be addressed as well as we can right now," said Rovner.
Beaman recently celebrated her "spine-versary," one year since her procedure.
"I stand differently, I walk differently, and just seeing the way it looks makes a huge difference," said Beaman.
Rovner is now working with two companies to improve the hardware for his technique. His hope is that other surgeons will be trained to use this procedure to get better outcomes for patients.