Hadassah

Breakthrough at Hadassah Hospital in Correcting Scoliosis for Special-Needs Teen

Thursday, Jul 11 2019

Spine specialists at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem used an innovative, minimally invasive approach to correct scoliosis in a 14-year-old with Down syndrome. “The doctors thought ‘outside the box’ and my son is now walking with a straight back,” says his mother.

Scoliosis is a three-dimensional distortion of the spine. The deformities can be severe or mild, and so can the treatment. The traditional method is to have the patient wear a corset that puts pressure on the spine to correct it. Elia, the boy with Down syndrome who was being treated at Hadassah for severe scoliosis, was not able to tolerate the corset and would habitually take it off. His parents were not able to get him to understand that he had to keep the corset on.

Elia’s scoliosis began in adolescence, and his condition deteriorated as time passed. It got so bad that Elia was walking with a 50-degree tilt to the side. He required major surgery.

“We had to think about an effective treatment for the boy, making sure that the pain level would be as low as possible,” explains Hadassah spine specialist Dr. Josh Schroeder, Elia’s physician and surgeon. “It is very difficult to estimate the extent of Elia’s pain because he does not communicate like other children.”

After consulting with Prof. Leon Kaplan, head of Hadassah's Spine Surgery Unit, and experts from around the world, the Hadassah surgical team came up with an idea for a different, innovative treatment.

“Most of the surgeries for correction of scoliosis are performed by means of an incision along the back, an invasive procedure requiring a long recovery time,” says Dr. Schroeder. “In Elia's case, we chose a less invasive approach, including partial use of the Israeli mini-robot invented by Mazor Robotics.”  The Mazor robot system maximizes precision placement and safety.

Dr. Schroeder explains, “We made a small incision in his back, through which we installed tiny screws in the spine to stabilize the vertebrae and, in this way, straighten the spine. We minimized the risk of bleeding, infection, and pain. Recovery time was reduced by almost half that required in regular surgery, and, of course, the result is more aesthetic."

Dr. Schroeder adds, “Our guy left the operating room within two and a half hours and after three days he was home.”

Elia’s parents note, “We were very worried about the operation. Elia is just a child! We want to express heartfelt thanks to the surgeon, the operating room staff, and the recovery room staff. They came up with an innovative solution, and, thanks to them, our son walks independently now, and his suffering is over.”

Dr. Schroeder points out, “This is the first time the approach has been used in Israel. It is a breakthrough in the treatment of children with special needs, especially those who cannot communicate. Up until now, these children had to go through a fully invasive operation and were subjected to pain, medical complications, and a long recovery period. We have found a way to improve their quality of life and minimize the pain associated with such treatments.”

Learn more about the Hadassah Medical Organization.

Related Stories

alt_text

Monday, Sep 16 2019

Hadassah Australia Will Help Ethiopian Israelis Achieve Their Dream

Barely 11 percent of Ethiopian Jewish students attend university in Israel, as compared to 42 percent of their counterparts in the general population.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Friday, Sep 6 2019

New, Larger Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit Opens at Hadassah

With a $4.75-million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Hadassah Medical Organization has opened a new pediatric bone marrow transplantation...

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Friday, Sep 6 2019

Creating an Exceptional Bar Mitzvah Experience

Thirty members of the Moises Jafif family from Mexico, along with their friends, came to Israel to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of Jak Jafif at the Kotel (the western wall of the ancient Temple Mount).

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Friday, Sep 6 2019

Teaching the Value and Joy in Giving

The many children in Moises Jafif’s Mexican extended family will remember their visit to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem for the rest of their lives.

READ MORE ›

Donation Questions

donorservices@hadassah.org

(800) 928-0685

Membership Questions

membership@hadassah.org

(800) 664-5646

Missions Department

missions@hadassah.org

(800) 237-1517

Contact Us

40 Wall Street

New York, NY 10005

support@hadassah.org

More ›

Show More