Sisters often learn to share toys, clothes, hobbies, friends and more. The Fitzpatrick sisters – Katie, age 14; Julia, age 12; and Anna, age 10 – also share a connection with Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia. They are all patients of Amer Samdani, M.D., chief of surgery. Each sister has a varying degree of scoliosis, a curvature of the spine.
Katie underwent an innovative fusionless spinal surgery to correct her curve in March 2015. One year later, she needed an additional surgery to repair a vertebra. Katie worked hard with the help of the rehabilitation team, including physical therapist Dana Johnson, DPT, to get her strength back to walk with ease and not be in pain.
Julia and Anna have much smaller curves and have started a new scoliosis-specific exercise program. The program is a conservative treatment option to help minimize or maintain the curve progression. The program includes an at-home exercise component and proper brace wearing as needed. The goal for Julia and Anna is to avoid surgery.
“I'm hopeful due to the early results and happy the exercise program empowers patients to help themselves. I think it's important that my children take ownership and be actively involved in their own care,” stated father, Bill Fitzpatrick.