Today Mackenzie had her follow-up appointment with the orthopedic doctor. She weighs 68 lbs and was 4’10.5″ tall, which is 1″ inch taller than 6 months ago (and 2″ taller than a year ago). They took her x-ray like normal and brought her back to the room. The resident doctor came in and pulled up the x-rays on the screen. I immediately knew that the curve looked almost as bad as it did when we originally went to see the doctor the first time. He told us that it measured 49°, which is only 2° better than a year ago. He said that is just what we want to see – that the brace is keeping the curve from progressing for now. He said that they didn’t expect the brace to help improve it, just to hold it where it was.
Then the doctor came in and looked her over. He mentioned that he knew the curve seemed better during the last visit (30°), but that just like people who have good picture days and bad picture days, the spine is the same way. So I guess Mackenzie’s spine was having a “good” day that day in February. I asked him what they would do if the brace kept her curve at the same degree until she finished growing. He said that since she is on the borderline of needing to have surgery then that would really be up to us. He said that since she is so young with such a severe curve, that it was most likely going to get worse as she grew and would most likely require surgery. He said that she would wear the brace until she stops growing, which is usually around 15-16, but that would vary based on her.
He said that the lowest curve he has operated on was 45°, but that was a patient he had for 5 years (age 13-18) and she just wanted it fixed after all that time. He said he usually operates when the curves get closer to 60°. Even though brace is just keeping her straight at night, he said that when she eventually does have surgery that it would help with the form of her back. He said that since her curve is a natural curve that it shouldn’t cause her problems later on in life and that it shouldn’t get worse as she gets older. He did mention though that the larger curves in children this young are the ones that do get worse faster.
So I’ll keep waiting…impatiently.