ROWAN BERKOWITZ

ABOUT ME

Some might say I am obsessed with the spine,

and they would not be wrong. I was driven by a desire to learn more about why some people’s spines are seemingly normal and why others develop a deformity at some point in their life.

My passion to gain insights and learn more about spinal abnormalities drove me to consistently push the boundaries and to keep asking “why”? I find the spine to be one of the most interesting organs in the human body – it has an infinite range of possible movements, much like a Flexi-hose in the bath or shower.

The fact that some spines are in a normal configuration is in itself a miracle. There are so many things that can go wrong with the spine, most of which have a known cause, but for me the most fascinating is the idiopathic type – a deformity for which there is no known cause.

My interest in spine deformity was stimulated on receiving the news that both of my siblings had a spinal deformity. At that stage, the spine surgeon treating them said that no surgery would be required if their spines could be managed conservatively with a brace. It fascinated me to learn that an individual could actually harness their body’s energy and use mechanical forces to correct the deformity or stop it from progressing all together!  This is what intrigued me the most.

I know firsthand, that although we cannot always change or cure a disease or deformity, we can make a difference and restore quality of life.

Although certain principles remain the same through time, technological advances, research studies, and the availability of new materials and techniques have enabled spine specialists to treat and manage spine deformities which previously could only be managed surgically or worse still, simply left to progress – leading to a lifetime of deformity, pain, and disfigurement. Likewise, other idiopathic deformities like chest deformities (Pectus carinatum or “pigeon chest”) can also now be managed using various bracing and compression techniques.