Hospitals in Action

Successful Spinal Surgery Allows This Teen to Cheer Once More

Less than a year ago, 13-year-old Gabby feared having to leave her cheerleading passion behind. She had a sideways curvature of the spine, known as scoliosis, that was getting worse by the day. 

“The doctor told me that her curve had progressed so quickly and was so bad that delaying surgery any longer might put her in a wheelchair or, even worse, threaten her life,” said Kate, Gabby’s mother. “After that conversation, I cried and cried.”  

A leader in his field, Dr. Roberto, of Shriners Children’s Northern California, performed a revolutionary scoliosis surgery called vertebral body tethering (VBT), which corrects a developing spine’s sideways curve while preserving the spine’s mobility and range of motion. VBT straightens the curve by fusing the bones in the spine, providing a non-invasive alternative to traditional scoliosis surgery.