• From complex spinal surgery to growing pains - Spire Southampton Hospital is putting the bounce back into children

From complex spinal surgery to growing pains - Spire Southampton Hospital is putting the bounce back into children

Zoe Wilcox from Totton was a patient at the paediatric unit at Spire Southampton Hospital - thanks to the surgery and care she received, she has been able to fulfil her dreams and ambitions.

Complex spinal surgery

Back in 2014, Zoe Wilcox was 16 years’ old and started to experience uncomfortable hip pain which was interfering with her one passion in life, musical theatre.  As it worsened she told her mum who, on closer examination, realised it wasn’t her hips that were the problem. In fact Zoe’s spine was not running in a straight line and her hips were probably compensating. Having been diagnosed with scoliosis of the spine by her GP, she was referred to Mr Evan Davies in February 2015. She chose to undergo surgery in August 2016, when it became just too uncomfortable and carrying bags and costumes to school on a daily basis left her exhausted.

As Zoe explains:

“Before the operation I was finding it hard to dance, let alone be on my feet all day. My course is full on and mentally as well as physically demanding. I had the surgery in the summer holidays and despite the major 5-hour operation required to put two large rods and multiple screws in my spine, I was home in five days and back at college in a month. The team were fantastic and kept me as comfortable as they could I was told to avoid roller-coasters and skydiving. The rods and screws will remain in my back for life to correct the curvature and prevent further change.

“Though I’m not 100% cured, I can jump, sing and dance on stage and no one would notice any difference. Since January of this year, I’ve felt a lot better and my back only feels irritated after a long day shopping and carrying. I’m currently studying A-levels in musical theatre, drama and film studies and I’ve just been awarded a place at Winchester University to study for a degree in drama. To have a career on the stage is what I’m really dreaming of. Last February half term I was a sorority girl called Kate in Legally Blonde at The Point in Eastleigh, next I’m aiming for a role in my college production of Jekyll and Hyde, the Musical.”

The paediatric surgeon

Mr Evan Davies is a consultant spinal surgeon specialising in scoliosis, tumour, trauma and degenerative spinal surgery in children, adults as well as the elderly with spinal problems.

He comments:

Scoliosis affects 1 in 2000 of the population and the vast majority occurs in teenagers.   Scoliosis can cause changes in the shape of the spine which can lead to prominence of parts of the back as well as changes in the shape of the shoulders and hips. For the majority of patients no treatment is required, but it is important that scoliosis is monitored throughout growth to ensure that the size of the curve doesn’t require treatment. Occasionally surgery is suggested if the curve has progressed to a degree that it is causing pain and the shape is unpleasant. With modern spinal care and dedicated paediatric spinal teams of nurses and anaesthetists, most patients are in hospital under a week and back to school, college or work within four weeks, returning to all normal activities by three months at the latest.

“Spire Hospital Southampton is one of the few recognised private scoliosis centres in the UK. The specialist imaging, intensive care and paediatric nursing staff and medical teams mean that the hospital can provide dedicated and safe care for the management of patients of all ages with scoliosis and other complex spinal problems.”

For people and parents concerned about the possibility of scoliosis, the internet can give conflicting and worrying advice, so it is always better for such concerns to be reviewed by specialists in scoliosis care. Mr Davies has in excess of 15 years’ experience looking after children and adults with spinal deformity and carries out in excess of 120 cases of scoliosis surgery per year in both the NHS and Spire Hospitals. Having scoliosis does not mean having to have spinal surgery, but assessment and discussion on treatments should be led by specialists in scoliosis such as we have here at Spire Southampton.

Paediatric care at Spire Southampton Hospital - All you need is a referral from your GP and parents can either self pay or use their family medical insurance. The team offers a full range of procedures and treatments from a tonsillectomy to a variety of simple and complex orthopaedic procedures. If you wish to consider Spire Southampton and their team for the treatment of your child, they would be very happy to show you around and introduce the staff who will be there with you every step of your child’s treatment journey. To find out more tel: 02380082628.


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From complex spinal surgery to growing pains - Spire Southampton Hospital is putting the bounce back into children