Stronger, Faster, Taller: Max Returns to the Pool without Back Pain
The day after Max Bultemeyer’s spinal fusion surgery, he couldn’t wait to get out of his hospital bed. Not to check out his newly straightened spine in the mirror—that would come later. Max wanted to know how many inches he’d gained in height from the procedure. When the nurse announced he was 5 feet, 10 inches tall, he almost couldn’t believe his ears.
“I grew two-and-a-half inches in one day,” said Max, 17. “When I went into the hallway to walk around, I felt like I was on stilts. It’s all I could talk about!”
But the good news got even better: Max’s delicate surgery was a success, according to Max’s pediatric orthopaedic surgeon, Peter Sturm, MD. Max left the hospital focused on one goal: returning to his swim team, the Dayton Raiders, as quickly as possible.
The Decision to Have Spinal Fusion Surgery
Max began swimming competitively in the second grade and quickly showed promise. Three years later, at an annual checkup, his pediatrician in Beavercreek, Ohio, diagnosed him with idiopathic scoliosis (meaning the cause is unknown).