Standing Measurably Taller: 14-Year-Old St. Cloud Orthopedics Scoliosis Patient is First Ever to be Treated Locally
Last year at this time, Makayla Keehr was 4’ 11”. Now she’s 1.5 inches taller, and her Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) has been corrected, thanks to the surgical spine care from one of our three spine surgeons, Dr. Trevor McIver. This is the first recorded treatment of AIS ever performed in St. Cloud.
Makayla’s mom, Jodi Keehr of St. Joseph, began her careful quest for treatment options in the Twin Cities. But she ultimately wasn’t happy with the level of care they were receiving in exchange for the time spent away from school and work. Fed up, Jodi decided to think locally and ask St. Cloud Orthopedics for a spine referral.
“I was delighted to hear that St. Cloud Orthopedics actually had three spine doctors right here in town,” recalled Jodi. “When we met Dr. McIver, I just knew we had found the right fit. He answered all of our questions and walked us through the surgical procedure that we already knew was necessary. We just felt more comfortable with him, compared to who we had met with in the Cities.”
Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis is a genetic condition where the spine presents a noticeable curve measuring above 10 degrees between the ages of 11 and 18. Since Makayla’s curve was quite advanced at 55 degrees, her condition required surgical correction.
Dr. McIver, who completed his fellowship at the Spine Institute of Arizona and his residency at Oregon Health and Science University prior to joining our clinic in the fall of 2015, had successfully performed a number of similar AIS surgeries during his training. And his team of anesthesiologists also had previous experience during their respective training. Together, they were easily able to take on Makayla’s case, successfully treating her at St. Cloud Hospital with what he describes as a perfect outcome.
“Just as expected, Makayla did fantastic. She was back in school within a matter of weeks of the procedure, was out of the hospital in just four days, and was off of pain medication on day five,” reported McIver. “This is a great example of why there is no reason to leave town for advanced spine care—we were willing and able to treat Makayla’s case right here in St. Cloud.”
As for Makayla herself, she is just as happy. “My spine [curve] was getting worse, so it’s nice to know now that it’s been straightened, and it turned out even better than I anticipated,” she said. “I liked that my surgery was in St. Cloud because my parents could come and go easily, and my friends and family were able to visit me in the hospital. I wouldn’t have done anything differently.”
In adolescence, the benefits of treating idiopathic scoliosis fall under the cosmetic category. Patients typically spend a few days in the hospital in exchange for a straightened spine, which with today’s treatment is fairly steadfast. But left untreated in later life, curves can continue to advance at a steady rate, and may begin causing complications with cardiac status, breathing abilities, and more. In younger patients, the recovery process for this type of fusion-focused surgery is typically much faster.
In cases of AIS measuring under 45 degrees, patients would first be treated with nonsurgical care, such as braces and therapy. “At St. Cloud Orthopedics, we take people down the conservative road as long as possible until they absolutely need surgery. Only then do we make that recommendation,” noted McIver.
Makayla’s surgical results took her from a 55-degree curve to an 8-degree curve. “My back doesn’t hurt anymore,” she said. “I felt so comfortable with everyone at St. Cloud Orthopedics, and my mom was thankful for the relationship Dr. McIver built with us—it was a great experience.”
Our Spine Center is staffed by Jason Kelly, M.D.; Trevor McIver, M.D., M.S.; and Joel Shobe, M.D.—three highly trained spine specialists who utilize advanced surgical techniques, as well as nonsurgical treatment and therapy when possible.