CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Earlier this week, Julia Tourtellotte went back to Trident Medical Center to reunite with her doctor.
Tourtellotte is 91-years-old but has never been one to stay still. She started clogging when she was in her 40s and has been dancing ever since.
She is from Summerville and teaches clogging at her local senior center. Last year, dancing became more difficult due to pain in her leg. When shots stopped working she knew she had to chose a different treatment. She met with neurosurgeon at Trident Medical Center, Dr. Sabino D’Agostino, to talk about her options.
“She does not let her age slow her down at all,” D’Agostino said. "She wants to live life. She was not going to take a backseat to her pain and she wanted help.”
D’Agostino used robotic spinal surgery, the first of its kind in South Carolina at the time, to help Tourtellotte. The minimally invasive surgery causes less bleeding and typically has a quicker recovery time.
A few months after the surgery, Tourtellotte returned to the hospital to dance with D’Agostino. She brought her daughter and friends from the senior center to the hospital for the performance.
Music filled the lobby from a cassette player and D’Agostino jumped right in. Tourtellotte and friends in their clogs, and D’Agostino in his scrubs and tennis shoes, put on quite a show for dozens of onlookers.
“I think I did marginal at best," D’Agostino laughed. “That was the most dancing I’ve done since my wedding!”
“I think he did good!" Tourtellotte added. “We had fun! He said his little girls will love seeing him dance. He’s an awesome doctor.”
“She’s doing spectacular by any measure,” D’Agostino said about Tourtellotte’s recovery. “If she was a 35-year-old person or a 91-year-old person, she is doing wonderful. So we’re here to honestly celebrate her and her accomplishment.”
Tourtellotte said she has been doing exercises suggested by her therapist and has no more pain.
“I’m doing everything I used to do pretty much,” Tourtellotte added. “It’s not easy for me to stay still but it worked out real well.” She will be traveling to Tennessee soon for a clogging trip.
To learn more about the surgery click: here.