Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children sign outside main campus

Mar 10, 2016 / Scoliosis & Spine

Helping Children Like Colby

When you witness the poise and fluid movements of Colby on stage, you know you’re witnessing a young dance professional and ballerina in action. In fact, Colby couldn’t picture life without dancing, and nothing, not even scoliosis, was going to keep her from pursuing the art of dance. Discover how Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children was Colby’s life force in helping her stand tall on stage.

What Is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition caused by an irregular twisting or curvature of the spine into a C- or S-shape. Scoliosis affects between 2 to 3 percent of school-age children, most often appearing in adolescent girls ages 10 to 15. Different forms of scoliosis exist, including the most common type, idiopathic scoliosis (it’s currently unknown what causes idiopathic scoliosis).

Dr. Amy McIntosh, a staff orthopedist at Scottish Rite Hospital, recalls that Colby’s spine curvature was greater than 50 degrees when the two first met. After assessing Colby’s curvature based on predictive factors of whether her curvature was going to get better or worse, Dr. McIntosh predicted that her curve was only going to worsen with age.

“She had the type of curve that I could do a selective thoracic fusion on,” Dr. McIntosh explains. “I could fuse only the vertebrae attached to her rib cage and leave the vertebrae that are in her lumbar spine untouched.” This type of surgery would allow Colby to support her flexibility, a critical asset for a dancer.

Three months after scoliosis surgery, Colby is standing tall once more. Her shoulders are even; the prominent curve that once characterized her back is gone, and her waist is more evenly symmetrical.

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children Gets Colby Dancing Again

“It’s just been amazing,” Colby remarks about the Scottish Rite Hospital experience. “Five days I was at the hospital, and everyone was so nice.”

Today, Colby is back to pirouettes and pliés, just as graceful as when she first laced up her ballet slippers as a child.

Watch Colby’s story.


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