← Back

Robert B. | Kyphosis Patient

In the eighth grade, a routine scoliosis screening test revealed that I had a problem with my spine and it was suggested that I get an in-depth exam by a specialist. After several doctor examinations, numerous spinal x-rays including MRI’s, and various measurements of my spine, I had three very long and intense spinal surgeries to fix the kyphosis in my back.

The first surgery involved adding five screws and two rods to my spine. Approximately five weeks after the first surgery, a second surgery was required due to a serious staph infection. During the second procedure, some screws were removed and replaced with wire. After this surgery, I needed around the clock antibiotics and a cast around my entire chest. Because the infection reoccurred, a third surgery was done to remove all of the hardware and wire inserted during the first two surgeries.

Shortly after this ordeal, I began to lose all the correction from the first surgery. My back was also starting to pitch forward because, as a result of the third surgery, my spine did not completely fuse. At this point I was told by my surgeon that there was nothing more he could do to correct my spinal deformity.

I was scared, my parents were scared, and we faced yet another major surgery and more uncertainty about my future. We were not sure where to go or who to contact. Eventually our research led us to Dr. Lawrence Lenke in St. Louis, Missouri.

The first time I entered Dr. Lenke’s examination room, my x-rays were hanging on the walls. There must have been twenty of them! Dr. Lenke walked into the room, introduced himself and started asking me questions while reviewing the x-rays. In just a few minutes, I could tell he knew what had to be done and that he had the confidence to perform the required surgery. Dr. Lenke spent the next thirty minutes explaining the procedure to me and my family. In his confident yet humble way, he outlined the delicate and risky procedure he would perform to correct my spinal deformity.

Dr. Lenke told us how he would insert several screws and two rods into my spine from level T2 to L2. He told me there was a chance I could suffer other damage because of the number of previous surgeries and he outlined the risks associated with this procedure, including the risk of being paralyzed. I felt that I had no other choice and agreed to the surgery. In January of 2003, the recommended surgery was performed—with great success.

The outcome of this surgery has had a profound effect on my life. Although I never did play football again, I have regained my weight and, with Dr. Lenke’s approval, have resumed weightlifting, jogging, and boxing. (My parents are not happy with the latter choice!) I also have Dr. Lenke’s approval to begin skiing again. My confidence and self-esteem are back to pre-surgery levels and going higher.

I am very thankful to Dr. Lenke and his skilled team of medical technicians and compassionate staff at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. It was definitely a team effort. I have a new lease on life and an opportunity to once again enjoy daily living. I look forward to an exciting future with great choices ahead of me.

I encourage anyone who is considering spinal surgery to consult with Dr. Lenke and his team before committing to a spinal procedure by any other surgeon. It may save you and your family a lot of anguish, tremendous stress, and great feelings of despair.

I am currently a sophomore in college and have an interest in medicine. I am enjoying my college years thanks to Dr. Lenke and the many people who prayed for me.