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Texas Surgeons Offer Scoliosis Patients Hope

By Marianne Martinez, CBS 11 News
Doctor Treats Palestinian Children For Scoliosis

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Tiffany Russell spent months not living her life. “If I was awake, I was in extreme pain so I was in a lot of pain medication and I slept a lot,” she said.

Since the age of 16, Tiffany has had scoliosis. The condition causes the spine to curve and had Tiffany hunched over and unable to stand up straight. Over the last 19 years, she’s had ten surgeries to help straighten her spine.

With time, Tiffany was able to manage her condition, but last February she developed a complication. “I just heard this pop and this pain radiated down my legs and from that point on I was pretty much immobilized.”

Tiffany spent months laying on the couch at her home in Wichita Falls. She was unable to go out without a wheelchair, and taking care of her children was difficult or impossible.

Then Tiffany was referred to Dr. Fernando Silva, a neurosurgeon at Texas Health Harris Methodist in Fort Worth. Dr. Silva performed what Tiffany hopes is one of her last surgeries. “These patients had multiple spinal surgeries that required, to be repaired and to do so requires, an extensive amount of work because you have to remove everything that’s been done before and re-shape it,” explained Dr. Silva. “We have now the capacity in the community to help people with such conditions, not only to fix scoliosis from the very beginning, but people who’ve had multiple operations to try to help them.”

Dr. Silva said many scoliosis patients live with pain for years, and don’t realize there are options to manage it or even get rid of it.

“Is her pain better? Is her quality of life better? The outcome is excellent,” Dr. Silva said.

Tiffany admitted she was nervous about another surgery and the complications that could arise from it, but there was nothing else she could do. “That was my only option to do the surgeries, or just wait and continue to get worse,” she said.

Now, Tiffany can start living the life she’s been missing out on. “I don’t have any more of that pain,” she said.

Even though she must wear a brace for the next three months, Tiffany is already going out for walks and in a year, when she’s expected to be fully healed, may even be able to ride a bicycle.