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When Surgeons See Spine Surgeries in 3D, Patients Benefit

Malaya was wearing a tank top on a warm day in December 2020 when her parents noticed her right shoulder blade protruding in an unusual way. Concerned, they saw her pediatrician the next day who ordered an ​X​-ray. Her mother, Mary, was standing beside the X-ray technician, and her heart dropped when the X-ray appeared on the screen. It was clear, even to her untrained eyes, th​at​ Malaya’s spine had a severe s-curve.

Overnight, Malaya went from being a healthy 13-year-old who’d just had a big growth spurt to a scoliosis patient. Her family turned to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland for an innovative solution that uses 3D imaging during surgery.

Instead of having a straight spine, scoliosis patients have s-shaped or c-shaped curves in their spines that may cause their shoulders or hips to be uneven. There are about 6 million scoliosis cases in the United States, ​up to ​about ​​​4​% of the population, according to the​ Scoliosis Research Society​​​. It mostly affects adolescents, and ​​girls are 10 times more likely to have scoliosis than boys.

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Middletown, OH 45044
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