Former Back Patient Grateful to Live Life to Its Fullest


Scoliosis, characterized by a lateral curvature of the spine, can be a difficult diagnosis for anyone. But for Leslie, her diagnosis as a teenager was just the first step in what would be a long journey toward recovery. For many people, scoliosis can be corrected with a back brace, but unfortunately for Leslie, bracing didn’t help. Thus, she had her first back surgery in 1973, and didn’t enjoy a full recovery until March of 2014, when she completed her fourth surgery at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin.

Scoliosis and Flatback Syndrome

During her initial surgery for scoliosis in 1973, Leslie had a Harrington rod implanted along her spine in an attempt to correct the abnormal curvature, which did seem to do the trick until 2005. That’s when Leslie began to notice that her body was involuntarily leaning forward, a characteristic of a condition known as flatback syndrome.

Flatback syndrome can develop in people who have had a Harrington rod implanted, as the stainless steel instrument disallows the spine to curve as it naturally would. Because of this, Leslie became unable to straighten her back above a 45-degree angle.

Dr. Geck Gives Leslie a New Outlook on Life

Because her flatback syndrome had progressed so much, Leslie went in for rod removal surgery in 2012, then had a third surgery that same year. When surgical complications arose, Leslie decided to seek a scoliosis revision specialist all the way in Austin, Texas.

Here at Ascension Seton, Leslie met with Dr. Matthew Geck, who worked extensively with her to prepare for what would be her fourth and final surgery on February 17, 2014. Now, Leslie is able to walk upright again and no longer suffers from the debilitating symptoms of scoliosis and flatback syndrome.