Ella Standing Straighter thanks to Spinal Surgery

Active 16 year old Ella from Melville was diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (a sideways curvature of the spine) when she was 11 years old. 

Ella loved all sports including athletics, swimming, cross country and surfing, and general ‘back soreness’ resulted in her visiting her Physiotherapist for treatment.  They noticed the curvature of her spine and referred to the PMH Spinal Clinic who monitored her annually.

When her curves worsened she was fitted with a back brace in 2018, that she was required to wear 22 hours a day.  It went from under her arms to down past her hips.  Wearing the brace took Ella some time to get used to, as well as having to cope with the self-conscious element for her as a teenager trying to fit in at school. 

Eventually Ella’s back soreness and associated headaches prevented her participating in any sport.  Surgery was recommended to repair the curvature of her spine, however there was a two year wait through the PMH Spinal Clinic. 

Ella’s mother Nina was a theatre nurse who had worked with the surgeons from NeuroSpine Institute for the past 10 years at Mount Hospital.  Nina brought Ella in to see one of the Spine Surgeons for a second opinion. 

Upon consultation with Ella, it was recommended corrective spinal surgery with the availability to schedule the surgery immediately through the private hospital system, by both Spine Surgeons Drs Taylor and Cunningham – avoiding the protracted wait for Ella. 

Ella’s initial surgery date was postponed due to the COVID-19 lockdown, and subsequent cancellation of elective surgery. When given the green light, Ella was nervous as the new surgery date approached. 

‘I was nervous before the new date, but the day of surgery went really well. Everyone was so nice to me, and made me feel very relaxed.  I knew I was in good hands.  In recovery room and ICU I had lots of pain relief and felt comfortable, and talked A LOT to the nurses.  I had great care in ICU, and when I got back to the ward I had a pump that gave me pain medication.  The physios were great and encouraged me to sit up, and then get out of bed even though I felt dizzy at first’, Ella said.

Six days post surgery Ella was up walking, under the supervision of a Physiotherapist.  Six weeks later, Ella had returned to school and only taking Panadol for pain medication. 

Ella said ‘I feel much straighter and I feel more hopeful for the future that I might be able to run again soon’. NeuroSpine Institute’s Spine Surgeon Dr Taylor noted ‘that we were happy to be able to assist Ella to receive this life changing surgery, allowing her to return to being an active sport loving teenager. We were also to save Ella and her family valuable time by performing the surgery in a shorter time period than what was on offer in the public system.’

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