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Breana, 16, has been a patient of Michael Albert, MD, chief, division of orthopedics at Dayton Children’s for the last four years following a scoliosis screening at school.

She slept with a back brace for nearly three years, but it wasn’t giving her the results she needed. Due to her growth, the curve in Breana’s back had increased from 25-degrees to nearly 50-degrees in a matter of a few years. While she was not in any pain, as an adult, she would have major health complications if the curve was not corrected. Dr. Albert determined that the next step would be for Breana to have surgery.

While the traditional treatment for scoliosis is spinal fusion surgery, Dr. Albert suggested ApiFix, a new, minimally invasive procedure that was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. ApiFix offers substantial benefits over a traditional fusion surgery to straighten a curved spine, including a smaller incision, faster operation and shorter hospital stay. It acts as an internal brace and naturally expands as the child grows or exercises.

“We are thrilled to offer the ApiFix system to our scoliosis patients,” said Dr. Albert. “This new approach will allow kids to have a faster recovery and less pain than traditional treatment for scoliosis—with recovery being measured in days, not months.”

Dr. Albert believed that Breana would be the perfect candidate for this new surgery. He presented Breana’s case to the ApiFix team and was approved. She would be the first patient at Dayton Children’s to benefit from this procedure.

“We were naturally apprehensive about our daughter needing surgery,” said Breana’s dad, Jim. “But, Dr. Albert won us over with the information he gave us, his confidence level and his belief that she was a good candidate for the procedure. Plus, the surgery was minimally invasive, compared to spinal fusion surgery, and she was likely to have positive results.” 

Breana had her two-hour ApiFix surgery with Dr. Albert and Alvin Jones, MD on November 12. She was able to go home just 24-hours after surgery and required prescription pain medication for only four days. Breana was back at school two weeks after surgery and she recently started going to physical therapy twice a week to work on her flexibility. 

Her parents are amazed by Breana’s progress and how fast she has recovered from surgery.

“It takes a lot of courage for your child to be a surgeon’s first, but the rewards are endless when you know how many others will benefit from the procedure in the future!” said Wende, Breana’s mom.

Interested in ApiFix? Reach out to Jenna Keiffer, spine nurse navigator, by emailing KeifferJ@childrensdayton.org or calling 937-641-3010. Patient families can also schedule a spine appointment with a member of the Dayton Children's orthopedics team to see if ApiFix is an option for their child.