Scoliosis diagnosis doesn’t keep this active athlete off the field

To say Mia is an active student athlete is an understatement. She plays softball and basketball, and also does cheer, gymnastics, and tumbling in addition to water skiing and riding horses in her spare time.

During her routine sports physical one year, the doctor noticed that one side of her back was higher than the other during the scoliosis exam. They informed her she couldn’t play sports until she saw a specialist. She didn’t know what scoliosis was and was scared she may not be able to continue the activities she loves.

Research and speaking to others led them to The Orthopaedic Group, P.C. Her mother, Jaime, says “We had heard from people that Dr. Handwerger was the best.”

Pediatric Orthopaedic Specialist Dr. Adam Handwerger saw Mia and confirmed a diagnosis of scoliosis, a curve in the back. The initial treatment plan was to wear a back brace for a year to see if the curve progressed. If the curve worsened, surgery would be the next option.

Jaime says, “We were totally taken aback by the curve in her back. You couldn’t see it from the outside and it was a total surprise.”

After a year of wearing a back brace, the curve in Mia’s back had gotten worse. If surgery didn’t take place then, the curve would be harder to correct.

“Anytime you’re doing a big spine operation on a kid of this age, there are certainly challenges,” said Dr. Handwerger. “Trying to get the child onboard with what you are doing, explaining to the family risks and benefits, pros and cons. We spent a long time speaking with Mia and her mother regarding her diagnosis, what the procedure would entail, and what the recovery would be.”

The surgery involved Dr. Handwerger placing two bars aligning her back and pins to keep it straight. Before Mia left the hospital, she was walking upstairs. “It was unbelievable she could do this after a major surgery,” said Jaime, her mom.

Now, Mia is back to the active life she had before the diagnosis and surgery. Mia says, “As soon as he told me I was ready to go, I went right outside and tumbled. I was ready to go! I’m playing softball, basketball, and cheering again.”

Surgeries like these are very rewarding to perform, Dr. Handwerger shared. “When you take a kid that has a pretty sizable curve and now you’ve made it straighter, they can feel more proud and confident about themselves and they can get back to what they love to do.”

As our specialist in the Pediatric Center of Excellence, Dr. Handwerger is a leader in the field, capable of providing care from infancy to adulthood. Mia and her mother say, “We would highly recommend Dr. Handwerger and The Orthopaedic Group, P.C. We know people that have gone to other states for this surgery and he is right here in Mobile.”

For more than 40 years, patients throughout the Gulf Coast have chosen our orthopaedic doctors at The Orthopaedic Group, P.C., for specialized care in the spine, shoulder, elbow, hand and wrist, hip, and knee, and foot and ankle.

Our fellowship-trained doctors have extensive education and experience in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating all orthopaedic injuries and conditions.

Experienced, Expert care for over 40 years.

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