We started our day by rounding on our postoperative patients. The patient from last week that needed a chest tube looked well. But the patient that we did three days ago continued to drain blood from his incision. He would be at risk of getting infected. So we planned on bringing him back to surgery later that day, wash out his incision, and place a drain.
Today’s patient is a 10-year-old female who has developed a major thoracic curve similar to our patient from yesterday but without having a hemivertebrae. So we would not need to resect any vertebrae completely, but instead would need to perform Smith-Peterson osteotomy at multiple levels. Furthermore, because of the biomechanics of the spine, the length of our fusion and instrumentation would need to be much longer, extending from T4 to L4.
The surgery went very smoothly. We performed Smith-Peterson osteotomy at seven levels. You could tell that her curves became very mobile and we were able to get very good correction with the spinal instrumentation. As usual, relying on the viscoelastic properties of the spine takes time. Conforming these kids’ spine to the rod is a somewhat lengthy process. But it is so satisfying when you can immediately see the resolution of that big ugly thoracolumbar hump out of their back. The patient did very well immediately after surgery.
A couple of interesting Ethiopian facts: Addis Ababa means a new flower. Ethiopia does not grow its own grapes. They import grape juice from South Africa to make Ethiopian wine. They are so famous for the coffee they grow that they serve it at any major event. There are also restrictions on how much of it can be exported.