September 17, 2018

Scoliosis surgery allows patient to continue racing

Neck, Back and Spine | Patient Stories


For 18-year-old Sydney Landes, dirt car racing is a normal weekend experience. The full size, dirt modified race cars allow the driver to speed around an oval dirt or clay track in a matter of seconds. Although Sydney was diagnosed with scoliosis at an early age, she was still active in racing and she never let it hold her back. However, by the time she was 16 years old, her scoliosis had progressed.


Sydney’s mom also had scoliosis and they originally went to OrthoIndy spine specialist Dr. Terry Trammel for treatment. Sydney underwent regular check-ups every six months to make sure her scoliosis wasn’t progressing.

Upon Dr. Trammel’s retirement, Sydney and her mom switched to OrthoIndy spine specialist, Dr. David Schwartz to manage their scoliosis.

“At the time of switching doctors, my curve was only at 35 degrees. We were mainly going for my mom, whose curve at the time was a lot worse than mine,” said Sydney. “About a year after seeing Dr. Schwartz, he told me at one of my check ups that my scoliosis had progressed to over 50 degrees within a matter of six months.”

Parent's Guide to Idiopathic Scoliosis

Scoliosis treatment

Dr. Schwartz recommended Sydney have a spinal fusion before the curve got any worse. During a spinal fusion the affected vertebrae is fused together so that they heal as a single, solid bone. First the surgeon aligns the vertebrae to reduce the curve. Then, small pieces of bone (bone graft) are placed into the spaces between the vertebrae to be fused. Similar to how a broken bone heals, the bones will then grow together. The size of the fusion depends on the severity of the curve.

Sydney’s parents, Mick and Leigh Ann, were shocked her spine had progressed that much and they couldn’t believe surgery would be the next step. For Sydney, the shock also included a question of how surgery would impact her racing hobby.

“Sydney needed surgery to prevent her curve from getting worse,” said Dr. Schwartz. “She was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to race again. I reassured her that I have patients who after scoliosis surgery are back to gymnastics, cheering and lacrosse and I thought racing would not be a problem.”

Sydney and her parents decided surgery was the best option.

“OrthoIndy was amazing, not only for me but also for my entire family. I could not have been any more pleased with the staff and hospital,” said Sydney. “My nurses were exceptional. Dr. Schwartz made me feel very confident about the surgery and it made me feel like I was in good hands. I was as comfortable as I could have been going into such a life changing surgery. I couldn’t have asked for a better surgeon.“


Scoliosis surgery recovery

After a spinal fusion patients are generally feeling better two to four weeks after surgery. After six to twelve weeks, most patients are able to return to all their normal activities.

For Sydney, it’s been almost three years since her spinal fusion.

“I have been racing cars since I was 7-years-old. I love it just as much now as I did than when I started,” said Sydney. “I thought that when I was told I was going to have to have surgery that it would interfere with racing. Nine months after my surgery I was back in my racecar doing what I love. The surgery has not held me back from racing since. “


Sydney’s parents also feel like they made the right choice to encourage their daughter to undergo surgery.

“Our experience at OrthoIndy was great,” said Leigh Ann. “As parents we were scared to death to see our daughter go through such a life changing surgery. During surgery it was the longest six hours of our life. The recovery was very painful to watch her go through, but the outcome was worth it in the long run. We are happy that she went through it at her age at the time.”

Sydney plans to start college in Fall 2018 and continue racing while she’s there.

“I would just like to thank OrthoIndy, Dr. Schwartz and his team for everything they did and have done to make my experience the best they possibly could have,” said Sydney. “I definitely recommend Dr. Schwartz and OrthoIndy to anyone that has scoliosis or is in need of any other orthopedic treatment.”

To make an appointment with Dr. Schwartz, please call 317.802.2883 or learn more about back pain relief at OrthoIndy.

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Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

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