Mariah Raihanah bt. Khushairi is 18 years old. Her backbone has an abnormal lateral (sideways) curvature to the right. The medical term for this condition is scoliosis. It's the first time that I've heard of the term so I looked it up on the internet to learn more.
Image from www.eurospine.org
Scoliosis is more likely to occur in girls than boys. The specific cause of this condition is not known. The spine curves either to the left or right. In some cases, it curves both ways, giving the backbone an S-shape. The degree of curvature is called the Cobb angle and anything above 40 degrees is considered severe. Non-severe curvatures can be corrected using a brace, especially if the condition is detected at a young age. Severe cases can only be rectified by surgery.
Scoliosis is not caused by bad posture, sporting injuries or lifting heavy loads. The condition does not actually cause much pain but if left untreated, may cause complications to other internal organs in future.
Raihan's spine was curved at 48 degrees. She underwent a 5-hour surgery at Damansara Specialist Hospital three weeks ago. Alhamdulillah, the operation was successfully done and she is now recuperating at home.
Khushairi showed me the X-ray images of his daughter's backbone taken before and after the surgery. The `before' image shows a curve in the lower or lumbar region of the backbone. The `after' image shows the affected vertebrae straightened with a short metal rod about 8" long and held in place by five screws. The operation also involved taking a piece of bone from her rib cage, crushing it to a paste that's later used as a filler in between the vertebrae to encourage fusion and therefore restraining the curvature from progressing further.
I cannot but imagine how complicated the procedure must have been and the pain and discomfort that Raihan is going through. But she seemed cheerful enough and very positive when I talked to her.
My wishes to Raihan for speedy recovery. You sure are a brave girl, my child.