Month: May 2016

Scoliosis – Definition and Treatment

Scoliosis pic
Scoliosis
Image: WebMD.com

Paul W. McDonough, MD, is a spine surgeon in Abilene, Texas. Having completed a spine surgery fellowship, he received the most advanced spinal surgery training available. One of the conditions that Dr. Paul McDonough treats in his practice is scoliosis.

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine grows with a sideways bend instead of remaining straight. It often manifests itself during puberty, but its cause is largely unknown. Outwardly, people with scoliosis can appear to have uneven shoulders and an imbalance in the waist and buttocks. However, scoliosis can be mild or severe, and in mild cases, a person might not display outward abnormalities. In severe cases, scoliosis can complicate movement, affect lung function, and constrict the heart.

There are several methods available for treating scoliosis. A brace can be used to correct spine curvature in people whose bones are still developing. The brace fits close to the body and is practically undetectable beneath clothing. In some situations, people with scoliosis require surgery. The most common procedure is a spinal fusion. Using rods, screws, and hooks, a surgeon links bones in the vertebrae together so that they can’t move independently, which allows parts of the spine to fuse together over time.

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Mary Jones’ Recovery from a Broken Neck

broken neck
broken neck

Abilene, Texas-based physician Paul McDonough, MD, has performed more than 5,000 surgeries since the start of his medical career. He received spine fellowship training, the highest level of training offered for spine surgery in the United States. In 2011, Dr. Paul W. McDonough gained recognition in his community for helping a woman recover from a broken neck.

The patient, Mary Jones, endured severe abuse from her husband at the time. Mary Jones’ neck was broken during an argument and her abuser refused to seek medical treatment for her for four days. When medical personnel came to retrieve Mary Jones from her home, she was dehydrated, weak, and unable to move. Dr. McDonough performed surgery to stabilize her spine, but Mary Jones’ condition was so precarious that her chances of recovery looked slim. Less than 1 percent of patients with similar neck injuries are able to regain the use of their limbs.

After the surgery, Mary Jones went on to physical therapy, where she painstakingly learned how to sit up, how to use her hands, and eventually, how to take her first steps again on her own. Her recovery was considered miraculous by many of the medical personnel involved in her care.