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Scoliosis Awareness Month: Denver teen makes decision to get major spine surgery, comes out dancing

Posted at 8:52 AM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 10:52:08-04

DENVER — Emma Kolinski learned she had scoliosis in October 2018. Last week, she went into the operating room to undergo a special type of surgery. And she came out dancing.

At just 15 years old, the scoliosis caused the young Denver teen pain, a lack of sleep and strained her self-confidence. It was also starting to affect her passion for track and field.

"I wanted to choose the better pathway in life," Kolinski explained. "I didn’t want to be living in pain and I wanted to be able to go places and not be insecure about my back."

Kolinski's case of Scoliosis became severe enough that doctors recommended surgery to move forward.

Pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jaren Riley performed the surgery at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver.

"In her particular case we’re doing something called a Posterior Spinal Fusion which is where we take each of those little individual bones in the spine, hook them together with some rods and screws and make her straight," Dr. Riley explained. "It should be maintainable for the rest of her life."

The surgery was a huge success. Kolinski celebrated in recovery by dancing with her nurses.

"You live once. Embrace things that you are given," Kolinski said. "Insecurities are insecurities. Just embrace them."

National Scoliosis Awareness Month takes place annually in June. The goal is to highlight the growing need for education, early detection and awareness.