Dr. Ashish Patel visits Ghana to treat children with the most severe spinal deformities
Many of us remember bending over for back checks during middle and high school physical examinations. The healthcare provider was performing the Forward Adam Bending Test, a test designed to evaluate for scoliosis. Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature that develops in the spine. Many people have mild forms of scoliosis, live normal lives, and never require treatment. However, those with severe scoliosis are often treated in a brace, if caught early, or with surgery to prevent the spine from becoming more curved. In my practice, I see many children for scoliosis evaluations. I developed a keen interest in this medical condition throughout my Orthopedic training.
I recently traveled to Ghana, in west Africa, to further my education in the treatment of children affected with Scoliosis. I spent 2 weeks with Professor Oheneba Boachie learning and treating children with the most severe spinal deformities. These children often have limited access to health care and thus present with the most extreme spinal curves. We performed many successful surgeries and I value the experience immensely.
I bring my passion for treating this condition to Northwest Indiana. Although the school screening examination is no longer mandatory by state law, I have been active in educating local schools and health care providers to be aware of this condition and to refer children for further evaluation if there is a suspicion of a spinal curve. If caught early, brace treatment may be effective at slowing the curve from worsening, thus decreasing the need for surgery. As June is Scoliosis Awareness Month, I hope to increase the awareness of scoliosis and encourage health care providers and parents to check their children for the condition. With greater awareness and earlier detection, we can successfully treat scoliosis and likely prevent the need for surgery!