In 1963, at the age of 13, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. My parents were very apprehensive about surgery, and instead opted for physical therapy. As I aged, my spine slowly deteriorated. It wasn’t until just before my 44th birthday when I found out my back had deteriorated to the point that surgery was now mandatory. In 1994 I had my first spine surgery. It was my first surgery, but not my last. I first came into Dr. Moreno’s office in 2006.
Following the 2000 surgery, I developed flatback syndrome. Flatback syndrome is the loss of lordosis of the lumbar spine after one has scoliosis surgery using Harrington Rods. It is characterized by the inability to stand up straight, as well as deformity accompanied by constant pain. I gave the appearance of one suffering from advanced osteoporosis.
After learning I had flatback syndrome and not really knowing what it was, I began researching it. I found a support group online. One day I read the story of a woman who’s daughter had been treated by Dr. Moreno. When I read what a positive experience this girl had, I wanted to know where Dr. Moreno was located. I then found out that he was only a few miles from where I lived. I learned he took my insurance, and scheduled an appointment.
At my tallest I was five feet and six inches tall, and when I came to Dr. Moreno in 2006, I was four feet and eight inches tall. I had lost 10 inches! I had to be supported by a member of his staff while they did an x-ray of my spine. At 57 I was using a cane, a walker, and a wheelchair. I could not stand on my own.
There are very few surgeons who can repair the damage of the spine of a person afflicted with flatback syndrome, Dr. Moreno is one of them. The preparations for surgery were extensive. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Moreno’s friendly, efficient, and capable staff, it came together perfectly. The surgery was performed in two stages at Mease Countryside Hospital, an excellent facility. I spent over two weeks at the hospital, over two months in rehab, and several months at home in a back brace recovering. I regained 8″‘s in height and could stand erect. I had no radiating leg pain for the first time in memory and still do not. I donated my wheelchair and lift to the wounded veterans and eventually no longer needed a cane. It was remarkable.
Dr. Moreno takes on the most challenging patients. He takes the patients with chronic pain, the poorest quality of life and those unable to find help anywhere else. He demonstrates extraordinary skill as a surgeon and great compassion for the people in his care. I consider myself blessed and grateful to be one of his patients.