For those of you who are considering adopting a child with scoliosis (or already have a child that needs surgery), I wanted to give you the medical terminology for what each of the surgeries entailed. In the perfect world, I would have a definition by all these, but I'm finally resigned to just getting this much done, and one day when life slows down (LOL!!!!) putting definitions by everything.
Background: Xiaoyun had congenital scoliosis that had never been treated. Her curvature was 160 degrees and was an S-curve. The area where the right scapula would normally be located is actually a part of her spine, and those vertebrae are turned around 180 degrees from the way they should face. Her lungs were compromised, because of curvature and her lung function was at 33%. Had her lung function been any lower she would have been considered too high risk for the operation. Also, because her lung function was so low, they decided it was too risky to wait another year or two. Pneumonia could have been deadly for her. Thankfully, though her heart had to work overtime to push the oxygen through, there had been no damage to her heart yet. As she aged the wall of the right side of her heart would have thickened, until the point that it caused her to go into cardiac arrest. This was truly a life saving operation for her. It was also not without quite a few risks - pneumonia, paralysis, infection, or worse. Because of the severity, her surgeon decided to do the surgeries in four parts- each a week apart if all went well from the previous surgery.
1. Halo placement - four pins inserted into her skull - they screw in between the outer and inner skull, two in the temple area and two behind the ears. The halo was then attached to a pulley system and weights were added until she finally reached 18 pounds of weight stretching out those muscles and ligaments.
2. Posterior spinal osteotomies, rib resection w/ spinal instrumentation, MEPS (removed part of 5 ribs, length of incision was about 12 inches - almost entire length of back).
3. Anterior spinal fusion, discectomy, thoracotomy, T6-possible T10-T11, Solera instrumentation, local bone, BBB, infuse, EM6, SSEPS, NIM, cell saver. (The incision started under right arm and curved around to the front. She had a chest tube inserted just below incision area, one rib was removed and 'banked' at the hospital until last surgery, There were three different methods they used to monitor the nerves to make sure none were being compromised. The cell savor was a machine that captured the blood she lost, circulated it, and placed it back into her body. 6 discs were removed, as well as a wedge shaped piece of two vertebrae.)
4.Posterior Instrumented Fusion T2 - L3, Solera instrumentation, Cherron osteotomies, scoliosis correction, autograft, Infuse, SSEP, MMEP, NIM. (Placed two hooks - T1 and at T5 (T3 crumbled) and inserted a rod, also rod placed coming up from L3 - L1, rods attached to each other, the bone removed previously and banked, was ground up and used as the 'glue' between to vertebrae, they went in the same posterior incision as before, but had to cut up a little higher than last time. Halo was then removed. Because right portion of spine was turned completely around, they would have had to cut through all her muscles on that side. They would never have healed properly, so they weren't able to put a rod on that side.)
Instrumentation used was titanium so she will be able to have MRI's if needed.
She needed a unit of blood during each of the surgeries, and after 3 of the surgeries she needed an extra unit.
This seems overwhelming looking at this list, but please know that it is now February 6, her first surgery was on January 4, and we are now home, she's gained at least a pound since getting home, has grown 4 1/2 inches, and now has a FUTURE without heart damage and difficulty breathing. It is a miracle, especially when you consider that is has been less than a year since we first looked at her file.
God has been SO good to us and has blessed us with many, many people who have come along side us with love, support and PRAYERS. We are truly grateful that God has allowed us the privilege of watching a miracle in the process!!!!