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A concise, clear explanation of scoliosis and its treatments, with plenty of practical pointers and support from fellow sufferers. Much has changed in the last decade or so in the treatment of this condition, and Schommer (who herself has had corrective surgery for the disorder) is up to date in explaining the current state of the art. She begins by defining the disorder: all normal spines have a gentle s-shaped curve front to back, but when there is also a side-to-side curve, that is scoliosis. In the worst cases, the spine may also rotate, the rib cage become deformed, and the heart and lungs become crowded. Schommer goes on to explain ""keeping the odds in your favor"" (detecting a curve and monitoring its progress), and then covers in detail both surgical and nonsurgical treatments for adolescents as well as adults. She also looks at everything from insurance coverage and how to pack for the hospital, to the somewhat horrific surgical details (""your surgeon will thread all the wires through the neural canal and pull them around the bony ring of each vertebrae. . .""). There is a lot of news here, as there are now several alternatives to the standard procedure of inserting a rod alongside the spine. Throughout, Schommer attends to practical and emotional matters by including her own and others' experiences with braces, surgery, and post-surgical body casts. Scoliosis presents particular difficulties because many of its sufferers are adolescents, with rapidly changing bodies, tentative self- images, and social lives just taking on new importance--Schommer recognizes and addresses all this. Schommer is well-organized, current, and is able to hand her own experiences on to readers in the most helpful way. A valuable assist.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Doubleday