Spine curve op ‘success’

Headshot of Jackson Barrett
Jackson BarrettSouth Western Times
Joel Spencer’s vertebral body tethering surgery appears to be an early success.
Camera IconJoel Spencer’s vertebral body tethering surgery appears to be an early success.

With the support of their town behind them, Collie’s Joel Spencer and his mum Jodie jetted off to Adelaide for surgery to save the mobility in his spine, which appears to have been an early success.

A GoFundMe page was set up in Joel’s name to help the family get to South Australia for the important surgery and Domino’s Pizza in Collie also raised much-needed money as the total exceeded its $8000 target.

Joel underwent Vertebral Body Tethering surgery to correct the curve in his spine on October 15 and was discharged from hospital exactly a week later.

“The surgery went really well,” Ms Spencer said.

“He got him (his spine) pretty straight on the table, but we will have to wait until the standing X-ray to know exactly how straight he has got it.

We got the surgery done before it progressed, which is the biggest part.

Ms Spencer said Joel reported feeling much more comfortable as soon as 24 hours after the surgery was completed and did not require the assistance of pain medication within a week.

“The day after the surgery he said how much better he already felt and that his back was nowhere near as sore as it was prior,” she said.

“That is a good sign because he was obviously in so much pain before and now he is happy to keep moving on without the drugs.”

The tethering surgery involves halting the growth on one side of the spine to reduce or correct a spinal curve and is an alternative to full spinal fusions.

“Being able to still bend down and twist and turn rather than having rods up his back and having no movement is so important,” Ms Spencer said.

The pair are set to return home to WA next week and are hoping to be able to serve their 14-day quarantine at home in Collie.

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