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Standing Straght Again: Correcting Spinal Curvature

After watching a video on dmc.org, a patient seeks out a DMC Specialist to treat a rare spinal curvature.

Kypho-Scoliosis: Comfortable, safe spinal alignment


Woford Young is 67 and has been living with a degenerative spinal condition called kypho-scoliosis, which has caused his spine to slump forward and curve severely to the left. He sought the help of Dr. Hazem Eltahawy, a DMC neurosurgeon who specializes in complex spine cases at DMC Harper University Hospital, after watching one of the DMC’s health videos online.


Kypho-scoliosis is a deformity that occurs in the adult and aging spine. The exact cause is not fully understood, but it begins with a progressive degeneration of the disc spaces and laxity of the ligaments and joints in the back. As it progresses, the natural curve of the lower spine starts to flatten out, moving the body’s center of gravity forward, causing the slump/curve.


The long-term result can be significant disability and loss of function. X-rays of Mr. Young show just how pronounced the condition has become. Mr. Young tried various treatments without success before seeking out the DMC and Dr. Eltahawy.


“I liked what he said,” says Mr. Young. “I had nothing to lose by going in to see him, and he said all the things I wanted to hear.”


Dr. Eltahawy uses a new surgical technique called extreme lateral inter-body fusion or XLIF. This technique allows a minimally invasive approach to the spine – much preferred when possible, over the traditional approach, which involves longer incisions, muscle dissection and a longer recovery.


XLIF takes advantage of a natural empty space in the body to access the spine. The patient is positioned on his side. Two small incisions allow the surgeon to use his instruments to manipulate muscle and reach the spine, he then removes damaged disks and replaces them with an implant called a cage. The cage restores the proper space between the vertebrae and allows bone to grow over the space, fusing the vertebrae. The incision is closed with just a few stitches.


The recovery time is dramatically reduced – from six months to a few weeks. Woford Young can walk further now, and isn’t waking up at night from the pain in his spine. His activity level is much improved since before the surgery. He’s already referred a few people to Dr. Eltahawy and the DMC, stating “He’s good. There are no ifs, ands or buts. He’s good.”


Having physicians like Dr. Eltahawy who listen to their patients and use the latest techniques to help them live fuller lives is one of the reasons that the DMC is a major center for referrals and second opinions.


To connect with Dr. Eltahawy, visit dmc.org or call 888-DMC-2500.

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Harper University Hospital
Hazem Eltahawy M.D.(Connect with this doctor)
Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery (WSU)
PRIMARY HOSPITAL: Harper University Hospital
SPECIALTY: Neurological Surgery
EDUCATION/TRAINING: Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Egypt
INTERNSHIP: Ain Shams University Hospitals
RESIDENCY: Ain Shams University Hospitals
FELLOWSHIP: Detroit Medical Center/WSU Affiliated Hospitals, Spine Fellowship
FELLOWSHIP: Toronto Western Division
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