It's surgery (VBT) and a doctor switch
Updated: Jul 7, 2022
Ever since his scoliosis diagnosis at the age of 7, we never wanted surgery for our boy. So we “braced up” starting at age 9. This past March marked 4 years in the brace. As you know from the last post in February, his thoracic spine curvature has increased to a 43 degree curve. It was at that time that Dr. Bridwell said “We don’t need to make any decision today but we want you to consider the two surgery options – VBT or Spinal Fusion”
See here for a super informative 2 minute video comparison of the two - https://youtu.be/OX1vhVSzMiI
Also see February’s post for our pros/cons
For now, our family has been LEANING towards VBT. From what I’ve researched, I know there is an ideal time for VBT – when the child is still growing. What I didn’t want to do is just wait another few months, get to June for our follow up with Bridwell and find out “yes it got worse, way worse, and VBT is no longer an option”
So today we went to visit Dr. Dan Hoernschemeyer, of MU Children’s Hospital. He is an Orthopedic Surgeon who does both VBT and Fusion, but it just so happens that he is one of the leaders in VBT. He did his first surgery in 2013 and he has done over 150+. This guy really is the guy to see and it was proven to us, WHY, in our visit.
They had state of the art technology and a super knowledgeable staff. They took the time to tell us what they knew and answer any questions that we had. Also interesting is the fact that they took a few x-rays of him today without the brace on. This is when we realized he’s grown another inch – Now 5’5 (since February) and is also now curved to a 46. She the x-ray below, WITHOUT the brace…. WOW.. a bit scary (far left)
May be more information than you want to know but a child is an “ideal candidate” when their growth plates in their hand are here… (Brett is in red) We are super glad he's not a 5 or 6 because we would have been too late.
So, that being said, he will be watched every three months now and our TENTATIVE surgery date is August 23rd. I say “tentative” Because if by chance something worsens, flexibility changes, etc, we may move the date in or out.
What we want everyone to know is our peace. We are still so thankful for your prayers. We know they work. We know that God has still given our boy the strength to get to nearly 14 years of age with no surgery. As Dr. Bridwell said years ago “if we do nothing, and don’t brace, he’ll be at a curve of 60 by the time he’s 10” So we had to do something. We still believe the brace is good, working, and because of that, he will still be bracing until surgery.
And then… surgery, 4 weeks of missing school, 3 months of no BLT (bending, lifting, or twisting) and then… By the grace of God… no more brace and back to normal sports. WOOHOO!! We look so forward to putting this behind us. If you follow this boy’s life all the way to original posts, you may remember he is no stranger to battles - he fights them bravely, and wins… this will just be another one 😊
Please, all our prayer warriors, don’t give up on him. We will need you in August. This is a 10 hour surgery and healing, as mentioned above. We have faith in these doctors and know that God loves our boy, even more than we can imagine
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support.