this health video will focus on one doctor who breaks tradition to help scoliosis patients who have been turned away and left to suffer.
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Jennifer Matthews: When David Griffith met Alexis Shelokov, he was desperate for help. David Griffith: I was fearful that as things started to change here, there were dark consequences down the road. Jennifer Matthews: Four doctors told David the curve in his spine could not be repaired. I believe the exact phrase might be, it would take heroic efforts. Dr. Alexis Shelokov: What is actually the prevailing belief among many physicians around the country is that there is nothing that can be done for adult spinal deformity. Jennifer Matthews: Dr. Shelokov has a different opinion. Dr. Alexis Shelokov: There is effective treatment for scoliosis, and it can alleviate pain. It can prevent lung problems. Jennifer Matthews: David had a 140 degree curve in his spine. His lung function was reduced by half. Dr. Alexis Shelokov: But could see on the right, there's just a crescent, just a slimmer available. Jennifer Matthews: His heart would soon be squeezed too. Dr. Alexis Shelokov: If you have a curve of 100 degrees and are over age 45, the mortality, that is, the chance of dying in any one year, is 100 times greater than an individual without scoliosis. Jennifer Matthews: First, ribs, disks, tendons and ligaments that keep the spine rigid are removed. Then the spine is corrected. This is David before surgery, and this is him six weeks later standing straighter and three inches taller. David Griffith: My physical body change has been the big plus so far. All the rest is yet to come. Jennifer Matthews: With exercise and therapy, Dr. Shelokov predicts the results will only get better. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.