Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | September 17, 2013

Growth Spurt; standing a little taller after scoliosis surgery, just in time for freshman year

Benjamin Hausmann grew two inches overnight.

The Baton Rouge, La., teen had a condition called rapidly progressing double thoracic curve scoliosis. After Lloyd Hey, MD of the Hey Clinic performed spinal surgery at Duke Raleigh Hospital, Benjamin’s newly straightened spine made him instantly taller.

“It was pretty weird,” recalls the 18-year-old. “The first difference I noticed was when I stood up and faced my parents. I could clearly see the difference as I was now looking down at my mom even more than before, and I was suddenly eye-to-eye with my dad! I was pretty excited about it. I mean, who doesn’t want to be taller?”

Benjamin’s scoliosis hadn’t interfered with high school. He says he experienced “occasional discomfort, but no debilitating pain” and “was able to fully participate in varsity sports, including football, wrestling and powerlifting.”

Benjamin’s parents, Rachel and Mark Hausmann, said their orthopedic spine surgeon in Baton Rouge told them Benjamin’s rapidly progressing condition warranted referral. Their friend, Dr. Dan Albright of Raleigh, referred them to Dr. Hey.

From the start, the family felt Dr. Hey was the right choice. “We were extremely impressed with Dr. Hey from our very first interaction with him,” says Mark.

He describes the process that led them from Louisiana to Raleigh: “After Dr. Hey reviewed photos of Benjamin’s back and his serial spine films and scans – but before ever meeting with us – he sent us a very detailed email regarding his impressions and followed that email with a 45-minute, in-depth telephone consultation.”

Based on their initial correspondence, the Hausmanns asked to schedule a clinic appointment with Dr. Hey during Benjamin’s February school break when they drove 14 hours form Baton Rouge to Raleigh.

The Hausmann family with Dr. Hey

The Hausmann family with Dr. Hey

Dr. Hey obliged. “Despite the fact that Dr. Hey’s usual clinic day is not on Mondays, he arranged for us to meet with him at the end of his long day in the OR,” Rachel explains. As Dr. Hey has privileges at Duke Raleigh Hospital where the surgery would be performed, he also arranged a tour of Duke Raleigh Hospital with Holly Bradicich, the orthopedic patient navigator.

“Holly familiarized Benjamin and us with the hospital and the general plan for his hospital stay,” Rachel continues. “We were also able to sit down and meet with an anesthesiologist who provides anesthesia services for Dr. Hey’s patients. Then after a long day in the OR, Dr. Hey met with us for almost three hours, answering all Benjamin’s and our questions. At the end of that meeting, we asked Dr. Hey to schedule Benjamin for the first available date after his high school graduation in May.”

Despite the miles between them, the Hausmanns remained in close contact with Dr. Hey and his staff. “We had numerous opportunities to correspond with Dr. Hey’s staff as we worked out the insurance issues and other logistics of Benjamin’s surgery,” Mark says. “And during each and every interaction with either Dr. Hey’s staff or the Duke Raleigh Hospital representatives, we were equally impressed with the friendliness and efficiency of everyone who helped us.”

Dr. Hey is quick to share credit with his team. He says, “Our whole Hey Clinic team works very hard to ensure that every patient and family have a positive outcome and good experience working with our team at the Hey Clinic and also during their inpatient experience with Duke Raleigh Hospital.”

Benjamin didn’t have time for back surgery to slow him down during his last summer before college. He graduated from high school four days before his surgery. And this month, he heads to the University of Texas at Austin to study chemical engineering.

When the Hausmanns were ready, so was the Hey Clinic team and the staff of Duke Raleigh Hospital. The family flew to Raleigh on a Sunday. Monday was devoted to pre-op testing and an anesthesiology interview, followed by X-rays. Tuesday was surgery day. On Friday, the family was ready for their flight home. “Benjamin’s hospital stay was only three days,” Rachel marvels.

“Benjamin received excellent care during his stay,” she continues. “All the nursing staff was very professional and attentive. And the OT and PT staff helped Benjamin learn strategies to help him during his recovery. In addition, Holly Bradicich’s efforts on our behalf during our hospital stay provided us with a seamless experience.”

Recovery time was swift. Rachel says, “This past spring, Benjamin applied to be a camp counselor at an eight-week summer camp. When he was hired, we had our concerns about whether he would be well enough to work as a counselor only three weeks post-op. To our great delight, Benjamin drove himself three hours to the camp exactly three weeks after Dr. Hey performed his surgery.”

Benjamin teaching summer camp

Benjamin teaching summer camp

“We are so grateful to Dr. Hey for his efforts,” says Rachel. “And we want to thank everyone who works with Dr. Hey and those who work for Duke Raleigh Hospital to make possible the excellent experience we had at Duke Raleigh Hospital. We couldn’t have imagined or prayed for a better outcome for Benjamin.”

Benjamin can now begin his college career without pain and with renewed confidence. And with two more inches added to his height.

 

Lloyd Hey, MD blogs regularly about his work with patients with scoliosis and other spinal conditions. Learn more about his practice and read his blog at www.heyclinic.com.


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