I’m trying to keep my tone very neutral in this because keep in mind, Dr. Bridwell is an Orthopedic Surgeon. So as you can imagine, his tone is neutral too…. To give you the facts.
We started the visit with a big plus – the brace doctor came in, looked at his growth and said “boy have you grown. You’ve grown almost 2 inches in 12 months. Very good”.
Now on to Dr. Bridwell - Before the brace was placed on, he was at a 32 degree curve, immediately after the brace was placed on, changed to 22 degree curve (straightened out by 10 degrees). Dr. B thinks he has now developed into a 27 degree curve. It is hard to tell because today’s x-ray was with the brace still on his body. But Dr. Bridwell has done this now for over 37 years so he’s experienced and we trust his “I think” statements. So… what does that mean?..... Not as bad as it was before the brace, but now definitely not as good as it was just 12 months ago when the brace went on. Remember, however, he has also grown 2 inches. Surgery state is 50 degree curve. They will monitor him ever 4 months and have an x-ray every 12.
He also mentioned that his skeletal maturity is young for a boy his age… that means he has a LOT of growing still left to do. One of the questions I has asked is “do you ever place a rod in a child’s back before they are done growing?” He said most definitely he does. But those are in cases where he sees severe curves all before the age of ten – this is not our son.
He did say “I can’t tell you what will happen over the next few years but he may very likely be a child with a rod in his back. I know we don’t want to see this but remember, I’m quite certain if we did nothing, and did not wear this brace, he would be at a 60 degree curve NOW”. So what we have to remember is though the end result still may be a rod in his back, the brace is still doing it’s thing. We are not doing this “for nothing”. There is a reason for this crappy (if I’m honest) brace wearing….for the sweaty body, wearing two shirts, mom doing extra laundry… what we don’t see is what it HAS done… and that’s kept our boy at a 27… not a 60.
Please continue to keep him in your prayers. We appreciate the love, support, and prayers. We know that as much as we love this boy… there is a God who loves him more.