New surgical technique being used in the Mid-South to help children with deformities

Updated: Nov. 12, 2020 at 5:52 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - 3-D printing has come a long way, and now, there’s a new 3-D surgical technique being used by doctors right here in the Mid-South who are loving the results.

“Evie sat leaning forward a lot. She had an S curve, she leaned like this,” Dinnette Horton, Evie’s mom, said.

14-year-old Evie has spinal muscular atrophy.

“She has a disease where the muscles around her spine don’t function normally and that’s caused her spine to curve, and one of the problems with that is as your spine curves it starts to press on your heart and lungs, which makes it harder to breath and harder to do a lot of things,” Dr. Jeffrey Sawyer, spinal surgeon at the Campbell Clinic, said.

For that reason, Dr. Sawyer says Evie was the perfect patient for a new 3-D surgical technique.

“Through the use of this new technology, we are able to make a model like we did in the past,” Dr. Sawyer said.

With 3-D printing, doctors are able to determine where they need to insert the screw to help straighten Evie’s spine.

“You put this on your desk, you look at it every day for a week, and by the time you get to surgery, you’ve already seen it seven times, and it’s really true these models are life-size and so when we get into surgery, we see exactly what we’ve seen before,” Dr. Sawyer said.

Here’s Evie’s spine before, and after the surgery.

3-D imaging, before and after
3-D imaging, before and after(Campbell Clinic)

Dr. Sawyer says this technique is new to the Mid-South and in the last year, only two healthcare facilities have used it Campbell Clinic and Le Bonheur.

Evie and her family admit they were skeptical at first, but after seeing the results, they wish they would have done it sooner.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her, and all that she has to go through each day,” Horton said.

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