Carole Yang was in seventh grade when a routine scoliosis screening at her middle school revealed that she had three abnormal curvatures in her spine.
Although her curvatures were too pronounced to be aided by a brace, her physician wanted to monitor her condition before recommending surgery. The curves in Carole’s spine continued to progress and three years later, she was advised that she should have surgery to correct her condition. “I didn’t have a lot of symptoms, but I did have discomfort near my hips,” the 16-year old says. “And you could tell one side of my body had more of a curve than the other. Because my doctor said it would be easier to correct now rather than when I was an adult, my parents and I decided to go ahead with the surgery.”
Carole was referred to Dr. Ram Mudiyam at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital & Medical Center (FVRMC). Having served as Chairman of the Patient Education Committee of the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS), the preeminent international society dedicated to research and education in the field of spinal deformities, Dr. Mudiyam is very familiar with this condition and its treatment. He currently serves on the Adult Deformity and Scholarship Committees of the SRS.
“It is not known what causes idiopathic scoliosis, but it is thought to be present in two to three percent of adolescents — an incidence prevalent enough to warrant routine screening of students during the middle school years,” says Dr. Mudiyam. “While 10 percent of the population has some spinal asymmetry, scoliosis is diagnosed when a curve is greater than 10 degrees. One in five hundred teens with scoliosis will require active treatment with a brace, and only one in five thousand have curves that progress to the degree where surgery is recommended.”
Dr. Mudiyam used the Mazor Robotics’ Renaissance™ system to plan Carole’s surgery before she ever entered the operating room. In addition to helping to create an operating blueprint, the Mazor enabled Dr. Mudiyam to perform the surgery with exceptional accuracy. Use of the Mazor is limited to Fellowship-trained spine surgeons or neurosurgeons who have undergone additional education on using the system.
The surgery will help Carole pursue her many interests without her previous discomfort or worrying about an operation in the future.
“I’m not as self-conscious now that I have had the surgery,” Carole notes. “I won’t have to worry about my scoliosis worsening or having more pain in the future. And I’m an inch taller!” With the prospect of a surgery in her future now gone, Carole can focus on being ahead of the curve in all her newest endeavors.