University of South Florida

USF Health Neurosurgeon Repairs Spine of Thrill-Seeking Patient

 

“How do you thank someone for every step you take for the rest of your life?” Catherine Kloess, USF Health patient, asked. When Cathy is not teaching middle school math, she is flying planes, skydiving or running marathons. In late 2020, it was not her thrill-seeking lifestyle that sent her to an emergency room. Cathy was a passenger in a car that was involved in a hit-and-run accident. The driver suffered a traumatic brain injury while Cathy¬†was diagnosed with a complex T7-8 fracture, spinal cord compression and kyphotic deformity.

 

Cathy’s spinal x-rays before and after surgery.

 

With any surgery, there is the risk of complications, so Cathy had to face the possibility of waking up paralyzed. Performing the surgery was Puya Alikhani, MD, neurosurgeon and assistant professor, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. Along with his neurosurgery team, Dr. Alikhani replaced two¬†vertebrae (a corpectomy) with an adjustable strut graft, added screws and rods along five surrounding vertebrae (posterior instrumentation) and then fused and stabilized Cathy’s spine.

 

Puya Alikhani, MD, neurosurgeon and assistant professor, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

 

Cathy couldn’t wait to get back to her active lifestyle and was up and walking almost immediately after surgery. Five months later, she ran 30.4 miles in the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic. “Dr. Alikhani is amazing,” Cathy said. “My story would not be what it is without Dr. Alikhani and his team.”

Catherine Kloess (second from right) running with family in the 2021 Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic.

Network-wide options by YD - Freelance Wordpress Developer