Dr. Singh operates on a rare, benign giant cell tumor of the T12 vertebra

Dr. Singh operates on a rare, benign giant cell tumor of the T12 vertebra

22-year-old, south suburban college student Heidee Peebles became immobilized with back pain earlier this year. While she had been noticing pain for about a year, her primary care physician had decided that her pain was muscular.

Quickly, Heidee discovered the seriousness of her condition. She was walking to class when her back tightened up and she was unable to move, stand or walk. She called her father, Paul Peebles, who took her to the nearest emergency room where she was diagnosed with fractured vertebra.

Paul, just recently a patient of Dr. Kern Singh, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, after a spine injury, brought her to see Dr. Singh. He was the only spine doctor he trusted. After a close evaluation, Dr. Singh diagnosed a rare benign giant cell tumor in the T12 vertebra in the center of her back.

One of a handful of spine surgeons in the country who can remove spinal tumors using a minimally invasive procedure, Dr. Singh recommended she undergo this very risky surgery. Because Dr. Singh had performed many of these complex surgeries – more than most other surgeons perform in their careers — Heidee felt confident in his ability and immediately agreed.

Heidee’s surgery was done through a small incision, about an inch in length, below her right rib cage. Dr. Singh was able to successfully remove the tumor and fuse her fractured vertebra with a metallic cage and screws placed under x-ray guidance. The surgery took four hours.

Heidee is now undergoing physical therapy and her strength has returned.

“It was a miracle that my surgery would lead me to one of the most skilled spine surgeons in the country, who would eventually be responsible for saving my daughter’s life,” Paul Peebles says. “As far as I’m concerned, it was some sort of divine intervention.”

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