IMPROVING PATIENT OUTCOMES
Keeshara is an energetic, active 17-year old high school student. Her favorite hobby is basketball and she plays on the varsity team at her school in Virginia. At the age of 14 she was diagnosed with scoliosis, a disorder in which there is a sideways curvature of the spine greater than 10 degrees, often accompanied by rotation to one side. It affects approximately 7 million people in the U.S. alone, and in most cases the cause is unknown. Keeshara’s first symptoms began in her early teens as back pain, which made it uncomfortable for her to play her favorite sport. When the condition worsened, her family turned to Dr. Sheldon St. Clair for help.
Dr. St. Clair is a senior orthopedic and spine surgeon at Childrens Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD) in Virginia where he has performed hundreds of spine surgeries since the hospital opened its surgical suite in 1985.
At the time of her diagnosis, x-rays of her spine revealed a 44 degree right thoracic curve from T7-T12 and a thoracolumbar coronal curve of 34 degrees. By the time Keeshara turned 17, her thoracic curve had worsened to 58 degrees and a prominent rib hump was present.
Keeshara’s decision to undergo the complex surgery was positively influenced by “a lot of love, support and prayers” from her family and friends, as well as Dr. St. Clair’s reassurance, which helped her and her family feel “very comfortable about the decision.” With her scoliosis corrected, Keeshara is in great spirits and is back on the road to resuming her active lifestyle and returning to her favorite hobby of playing basketball again.
Keeshara Theus received selective thoracic fusion to correct her scoliosis, which maintained flexibility in her lumbar spine and will allow her to return to normal, athletic activity after her spine heals. Dr. Sheldon St. Clair and Dr. John Birknes, a pediatric neurosurgeon specializing in pediatric spine deformities, partnered on Keeshara’s complex surgery at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Virginia and completed the procedure in March 2014. Dr. St. Clair and Dr. Birknes used ATEC Spine’s Zodiac Deformity System, which included the Zodiac Direct Vertebral Rotation (DVR) instruments, cobalt-chromium alloy rods and uniplanar screws. The surgical procedure went very well − Keeshara’s coronal and sagittal deformity was corrected, and her rib hump is much less prominent than before the surgery.