Patient of Minnesota spine surgeon had 10 levels fused before becoming US Olympian

Alan Condon -   Print  |
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In 2010, after an X-ray revealed that rock climber Kyra Condie had an S-shaped curve in her spine, she consulted with three surgeons before opting to undergo surgery by John Lonstein, MD, according to USA Today.

Ms. Condie was 11 years old when she had surgery to correct a severe case of scoliosis — a 52-degree curvature in her spine.

Dr. Lonstein, medical director of fellows research at Minneapolis-based Twin Cities Scoliosis Center, performed the complex procedure which required fusing 10 vertebrae to straighten her spine.

Ms. Londie spent four days in the hospital and was sidelined for four months, according to the report.

Because of the 10-level fusion in her upper back, Ms. Londie cannot bend, twist or arch her back to reach certain points during rock climbing competitions, but she has learned to adapt to those physical limitations.

In 2012, about 18 months after surgery, she won youth bouldering nationals. She also won gold at the 2018 Pan American Championships and qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, where she placed 11th in a field of 20 on Aug. 4 in a combined qualifying event that included speed climbing, bouldering and lead climbing.

"People like Kyra — she just doesn't let anything stop her," Dr. Lonstein told USA Today. "It just shows that even if somebody has scoliosis and they have a fusion, they can achieve things and do what they want to do."

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