Newsletter – November 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Welcome to the following New Patients!

Tim G.
Owen C.
Margaret D.
Hattie M.
Tracy J.
Katherine H.

Thank you for your referrals!

Dr. Sara S.
Debbie G.
Joseph D.
Ellen M.
Levi G.
Cheryl L.

Welcome back!

Linda G.
Shane G.
Dean L.

Thank you for an AMAZING

Patient Appreciation Day!

You always amaze us with your generosity for your community. We have enough to donate to Salvation Army, Women’s Community Shelter and Peyton’s Promise. We have a couple of slots left for New Patient Appreciation Day on Friday, Nov. 2nd. Call now and THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

Acute Flaccid Myelitis

  • A rare condition known as acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) has been spreading across the U.S.
  • AFM targets the nervous system, including the spinal cord, leading to weakness in the arms and/or legs and loss of muscle tone and reflexes
  • From August 2014 to September 2018, the CDC received reports of 386 confirmed cases of AFM in the U.S.
  • Provocation poliomyelitis describes the increased risk of neurological complications known to occur if a person with a polio virus infection receives an injury to a skeletal muscle, which could include an injection from a vaccine
  • At least one expert has suggested if a polio-like virus is circulating in the U.S., the possibility of its provocation by one or more vaccines should be considered.

AFM has been making media headlines in recent weeks, but the condition has actually been quietly rising for years. From August 2014 to September 2018, the CDC received reports of 386 confirmed cases of AFM in the U.S. Broken down, this amounts to:2

  • 62 confirmed cases so far in 2018 (as of October 16), spread across 22 states
  • 33 confirmed cases in 2017, across 16 states
  • 149 confirmed cases in 2016, across 39 states
  • 22 confirmed cases in 2015, across 17 states
  • 120 confirmed cases from August to December 2014, across 34 states

It should be noted that the CDC is currently investigating nearly 130 possible AFM cases with onset of symptoms in August and September 2018. The 62 confirmed cases for 2018 are among these reports, but it’s possible the number may rise considerably in the coming months. At this point, there are more questions than answers surrounding AFM and its causes.

The CDC admits they don’t know what’s causing the increase, who may be at a higher risk or what the long-term effects may be. What they have found so far is that most cases seem to mimic symptoms found in various viral illnesses, including polio virus, nonpolio enteroviruses, adenoviruses and West Nile virus.


Parents remember that the weight limit of backpacks is 10 -15 % of a child’s weight. 45 lb child = < 6.75 lbs. max. weight!

60 lb. child = < 9.0 lbs. max. weight!

72 lb. child = < 10.8 lbs. max. weight!

Think they are carrying more than this? You bet they are. When we allow them to carry packs heavier than this, we risk long term damage to our children’s spine, including degenerative changes occurring 10-20 years faster than the normal population. If more of us start complaining when our children bring home packs full of heavy books, we may get a change in the way schools delegate study hall work and homework.

Idiopathic Juvenile Scoliosis

March 29, 2012

The current scientific evidence does not support the medical necessity for the surgical intervention of idiopathic juvenile scoliosis, yet these procedures continue to be performed and often reimbursed by the insurance industry. “No evidence has been found in terms of prospective controlled studies to support surgical intervention from the medical point of view. In the light of the unknown long-term effects of surgery and in concluding on the lack of evidence already found that surgery might change the signs and symptoms of scoliosis, a randomized controlled trial (RCT) is long overdue.

Until such a time that such evidence exists, there can be no medical indication for surgery. The indications for surgery are limited for cosmetic reasons in severe cases and only if the patient and the family agree with this.”

In addition to the lack of evidence that this course of treatment is optimal, there are a host of risks associated with scoliosis surgery which include failed surgery, neurological damage and infection.

Despite the lack of scientific evidence, the cost of these surgical procedures is often reimbursed by the insurance industry. A 2010 study of 125 consecutive patients found the cost of idiopathic juvenile scoliosis surgery ranged from $30,000 to $60,000 dependent upon the nature of the surgical procedure. A larger study that same year of 955 scoliosis spinal fusion patients found the average cost to be $113,303 including hospital and other associated costs. The cost of spinal fusion has increased dramatically.

The U.S. “health” industry clearly favors reimbursement to some health providers and for some procedures at the expense of others. Despite the rhetoric related to evidence based medicine little attention is paid to the actual evidence. Scoliosis treatment is just one of many issues that demonstrate this. Why would a rational health care system pay $113,303.00 for each scoliosis spinal fusion when there is no evidence to support the necessity? Similarly, why is reimbursement denied for more reasonably priced conservative procedures that have at least some research support and no significant adverse effects?

2809 Merrill Avenue, Wausau WI 54401 (715) 675-4106