RasmussenCollage

Gracie Rasmussen is a 13-year-old athlete who loves the sport of cheerleading. Her dream had always been to compete for Cheer Athletics, a nationally renowned cheerleading powerhouse.  She worked hard to make the team, spending hours in the gym each day perfecting every tumble, dance move and stunt.  Like most of the girls, she had to ice down parts of her body that would ache after practice.  For Gracie, it was her back that hurt the most, a pain easy to dismiss after watching the cheerleaders tumble, jump, stretch and flip over and over again.

It was actually a weekend off from cheerleading, spent on the lake with her family that brought her a diagnosis of scoliosis.  Gracie and her sister, Sawyer, were riding an inner-tube being pulled by a boat on the lake, when they both fell off and jarred their backs. An X-ray on Gracie’s back confirmed much more than bruising: it illuminated a severe case of scoliosis that was bending Gracie’s spine at a 65-degree angle.

“I was just so impressed with Dr. Lieberman,” said Lynn Rasmussen, Gracie’s mom. “He spoke directly to her.  He looked her in the eye and told her exactly what was going on. He worked her in and within two weeks, she was having surgery.”

“Gracie’s eight-hour surgery was an instrumentation correction fusion for idiopathic scoliosis – essentially, we realigned her spine and locked everything where it needed to be by using computer-navigated robotic assistance for the placement of the hardware,” noted Dr. Lieberman. “We use tools like this to achieve the best accuracy, effectiveness and efficiency we can for patients who need a procedure like this.”

Cheerleaders are known for their positive attitudes and strong spirits.  But it was faith, Gracie says, that pulled her through: “I was really nervous about the surgery, but I knew that I needed it. I had just made Cheer Athletics team – it was my dream to go there.  I just prayed about it.” A strong Christian faith and friends at her church, Prestonwood North Baptist Church, Gracie said, helped her through surgery and recovery. She spent eight days in the hospital at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano and continues physical therapy at home.

Almost a year post-surgery, it was mom Lynn who was the most nervous as her daughter prepared to do her first back flip on the mat at the gym where Gracie practices.

“I couldn’t believe it when she did it,” she recalled. “I was jumping up and down and saying, ‘Gracie, you did it! You did it! And she looked at me and rolled her eyes and said, ‘Mom, I’ve done this, like, a thousand times before.’ But I was thinking, ‘Yes, but you got it back!’ Nothing prepares you for watching your child relearn everything they knew, from lifting their head to walking to tumbling.”

Gracie’s passion for cheering pushed her to work hard through her recovery to continue the sport she loves so much.  Her coaches credit her strong work ethic and muscle memory for allowing her to get back onto the mat so quickly post-surgery.

“Tumbling is a lot easier now,” notes Gracie, when talking about her recovery and her return to her sport. “It’s straighter and it’s easier.” Gracie never knew that it was a curve in her spine that was causing her to veer off to the side during tumbling passes, something she had struggled to control. Even just months after her surgery, she felt that her back was stronger and that things were coming easier than they did before.

“Gracie is an athlete,” said Dr. Lieberman. “While we want the best outcome we can for all patients, we know that flexibility is particularly important for these young men and women.”

Gracie, who loves English and writing, is looking forward to writing the ending to this chapter in her life, which she hopes includes a spot on her high school cheerleading squad. One day, she wants to help others by going into the field of physical therapy or sports medicine, and she is excited to share her story with other patients who may be going through a similar experience with a diagnosis of scoliosis.

Her advice for them?

“Just trust the doctors and know that you will be stronger than you ever were.”

Spoken like a true cheerleader.

June is Scoliosis Awareness Month

In honor of this special month we want to share more about our scoliosis and spine tumor center and some facts about scoliosis with you.

 

Dr. Isador Lieberman is our scoliosis and spine tumor specialists and on a daily basis he treats patients who are affected by scoliosis. Below are 5 things Dr. Lieberman wants you to know about scoliosis.

  • In 85% of cases the cause of scoliosis is not known,  although we know there is a familial predisposition.
  • The mother to daughter inheritance rate for scoliosis is 1 in 4 or 25%, father  to daughter is 1 in 10 or 10%,  mother to son is 1 in 10 or 10% and father to son is less than 1 in 20 or 5%.
  • 3% of the people on the planet have a scoliosis curve that measures greater than 10 degrees, although the vast majority do not progress and only require observation.
  • Book bags, sports, sitting slouched do not cause scoliosis.
  • Scoliosis may be associated with back discomfort, however is not associated with debilitating back pain or neurological issues unless some other problem is also present.

Regardless of the extent of the scoliosis a general exercise program and maintenance of bone health is important.

Nikki Miller, a patient of Dr. Lieberman’s, shares her about her struggle with scoliosis and how she was finally able to find relief.

If you have been diagnosed with scoliosis please feel free to share your story in the comments section.

Tressa Scott, a teenager in Allen, Texas, couldn’t stand up straight for more than a year — until the summer of 2010 following a complex spinal surgery performed by Dr. Isador Lieberman. 

 Before her surgery, Tressa had a 60 degree curve in her lower back and a 35 degree curve in her upper back. Now, the curves are balanced at just over 12 degrees each. “It’s remarkable how much difference there is just a day after surgery,” said Tressa’s mother, Norma Scott. “Her back is so nice and flush.”

Tressa’s X-Rays prior to surgery.

Scott said she first noticed that her daughter’s scoliosis had worsened in the summer of 2009 after Tressa hit a growth spurt. “She was standing up in the kitchen and I said, ‘Tress, why can’t you stand up straight?’ And she said, ‘I am standing up straight,’” Scott said. “I went over to her, and even though her legs were straight, her shoulders were off and her shoulder blade was protruding. It didn’t look right.”

 Scott took Tressa to a Plano physician who referred her to Dr. Lieberman at the Scoliosis & Spine Tumor Center, a practice established by Texas Back Institute and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano. The center provides the most appropriate and least invasive treatment, support and coping strategies for adolescents and adults suffering from spinal deformities and tumors.

 Dr. Lieberman performed surgery on Tressa using the SpineAssist® surgical robot, a technology he innovated. At the time, the robot used for Tressa’s surgery was one of only three robots in the United States and the only one in Texas. Accurate to less than half a millimeter, the surgical robot enables surgeons to plan the optimal surgery ahead of time using a computed tomography (CT)-based 3D simulation of the patient’s spine.

“Like a pilot in a flight simulator, I can map out the patient’s spinal anatomy and perform the entire procedure before the patient even arrives for surgery,” said Dr. Lieberman. “The robot doesn’t do the surgery, but it allows me to be more efficient and more precise, and to anticipate potential complications before they occur.”

 After her surgery, Tressa was able to be a normal teen again. She gained a dramatically straighter spine – and also her self-confidence.

Tressa’s X-Rays after surgery.

 “It’s amazing to see how much straighter my back is now,” said Tressa. “I’m standing up straighter, not leaning over to the side. The surgery gave me a new kind of confidence.”

Recently Dr. Lieberman, the scoliosis and spine tumor expert at Texas Back Institute was featured on the cover of the MD News magazine.  Did you see it?

Not only did MD News put Dr. Lieberman on the cover of the issue, they also did a spread inside the magazine.  Here’s the first page of the article.

 After the issue came out MD News had a really nice reception honoring Dr. Lieberman and his team at Three Forks in Dallas.  We had a really good turn out and though Dr. Lieberman prefers not to be the center of attention, he had a blast.  

Here’s a video of Dr. Lieberman’s speech. (It’s a little long, dark and shaky but we wanted to share it anyways!)

MD News and Dr. Lieberman 

Tiffany, business development for the Scoliosis and Spine Tumor Center with Dr. Rashbaum

 Tiffany and the two of the Texas Back Institute sales team members, Jeric and Kelly.

It was such a fun night and everyone had a great time!

Have you ever been a patient of Dr. Lieberman’s?  If so, tell us what your experience was like. 

Hi Texas Back friends. 

As some of you may know we have been working really hard to get the word out about our new scoliosis and spine tumor program as well as one of only 3 spine surgical  robots. 

This robot has been a long time in the making and truly changes the surgery for scoliosis and spine tumors. 

We wanted to share the following video links with all of our fans, just in case you missed it on the news. 

http://www.youtube.com/texasbackinstitute 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uH-r4aHbI7c

Let us know what you think about them!

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