Neurosurgeon Dr. Steven Vanni, from the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, performed hypothermic treatment, a relatively new procedure that uses cold for victims of severe trauma to reduce swelling and inflammation. Dr. Vanni is both a Doctor of Osteopathy and a Chiropractor.
Dr. Vanni surgically decompressed the neck and fixed the dislocation. Then a hypothermia protocol was used to cool Valdez’s body down to 33.5 degrees Centigrade (92.3 degrees Fahrenheit. The normal temperature of the human body is 98.7) Cooling reduces the amount of swelling and inflammation on the spinal cord to help prevent further damage. That’s important because the spinal cord exists in a closed environment and has no room to swell which then can lead to paralysis.
If there had been other injuries, such as severing of the spinal cord, this procedure would not have worked. But fortunately for Valdez, even with disclocation of the vertebrae, the spinal cord was left intact. This truly is an amazing medical result. And Valdez with the optimism and resiliance of youth, plans to go back to gymnastics.