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Denise Vanderbush my very good friend in the USA, very kindly went to her local library to find this article for me, so great thanks to her for spending the time to locate this article that was published in Times Magazine on November 14th 1960. Contact her directly via our Scoliosis Yahoo Support Group.
Spines of Steel
Some ailments seem almost preferrable to their cures. A case in point is Scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine that occurs in childhood. As seen from behind, the spine should appear straight; in Scoliosis it has a C-Shaped or S-Shaped curve.
Extreme cases of Scoliosis often require fusion of the spinal vertebrae. For most cases the standard treatment is forcible straightening of the spine, with the patient encased for four to six months in a massive, immobilizing plaster cast. To some parents of Scoliosis victims, this treatment seems so punishing that they cannot be persuaded to permit it even to save their children from permanent derfomity.
Last week Houston Surgeon Paul Harrington was winning converts to a new and happier method. Capable of correcting spinal curvature in people up to the age of 40. Dr Harrington's technique frees patients from the confines of a cast, permits them to lead normal lives during treatment.
Key to Hartington's method is a slender, stainless-steel rod that resembles a soda straw and serves somewhat like a splint. In a complicated two-hour operation, the curved spine is straightened, then bound into place with one to three rods which are fastened to the spine with metal hooks.
The rods are readily accepted by the body, says Dr Harrington, and need never be removed. Affixed to the spine just beneath the back muscles, they cause no pain, do not restrict physical activity. After ten days in the hospital and a six-week convalescent period, says Surgeon Harrington, youngsters equipped with rods can run, swim, play tennis. The only restriction: no contact sports such as football.