To treat her congenital scoliosis and thoracic insufficiency, Miriam’s doctors will be inserting two VEPTR (Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib) devices which will slowly push her ribs apart and allow her spine to continue to grow, hopefully correcting the scoliosis without requiring fusion in adolescence.
After the surgery on January 28, she will spend 5 – 7 days at Dell Children’s Hospital here in Austin and then recover at home. Barring any complications, her doctor says she should return to a near-normal routine in two weeks or so, and be fully recovered in six. She will need smaller follow-up surgeries every six months until she stops growing in order to expand the device to keep it on pace with her bodily development.
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has an excellent series of videos on youtube explaining the procedure if you would like to learn more about it. (WARNING: Video #5 in this playlist contains footage from an actual surgery starting at about 2:15. You may want to skip that one.)