Jaylie has progressive infantile scoliosis. Progressive infantile scoliosis is traditionally defined as a lateral curvature of the spine with vertebral rotation diagnosed within the first three years of life, twice as common in males. Left untreated it can be fatal. 80% of cases are idiopathic (unknown reason/born with it). Jaylie falls into this 80%, just like her PVS is idopathic, so is her scoliosis. We first recognized her curve around 3 months old. We brought it up to the pediatrician at that time but he was not too concerned bc she was so young and we had much bigger issues going on with her PVS. (to know more about her PVS, please see previous blog posts)
Once she was more stable, I brought it back up to the pediatrician around 9 months of age bc it was definatly more pronounced and obvious. We then took her to an pediatric orthopedic, after x rays and examination it was determined that she had scoliosis. At 9 months, her curve was 32 degrees. The dr recommended that we wait and see what the curve does once she is bearing weight and standing. We went back at 12 months old and took standing x rays, her curve was worse. It was now at 40 degrees. Casting was talked about briefly at this appointment. I went home from that appointment a bit discouraged and sad for my baby girl. I decided to do as much research as possible to learn more about this condition and the treatments. This is when I found the Infantile Scoliosis Outreach Program www.infantilescoliosis.org This website and group was so informative and supportive. They pointed me to the Early Onset Scoliosis and Mehta Casting facebook group, this is where I got so many of my questions answered by fellow moms and family members of scoli kids. I quicly learned there were major differences in casting technquies for scoliosis and I decided that for Jaylie, we would proceed down the road of Mehta casting.
What is Mehta casting? Mehta Growth Guidance Casting is the only conservative, gentle, and noninvasive treatment for progressive infantile scoliosis. It was developed by a british orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Min. H. Mehta. She called it EDF casting (elongation, derotation, flexion), which has now evolved into Mehta casting. Her findings showed that a childs rapid growth guided by EDF casting can allow curved spines to grow straight. This treatment protocol is a series of plaster casts, applied under anesthesia every 8-16 weeks, until the curves measured under 10 degrees.
The Mehta method requires a specialized casting frame that allows a gentle untwisting of the spinal curve. Before the Mehta method, Risser casting was the method used in the US to treat scoliosis. This method only addressed two demensions (elongation and derotation). Now with the Mehta method, flexion is addressed.
****During the first 2 years of life, on average a child can be expected to grow, on average, 24 centimeteres……..This is why Early Detection and Early Treatment is important, and can dramatically lessen the number of casts required and the total time a child spends in casts****
Here are some pictures of Jaylies back/spine before casting started:
As you look at these pictures, notice her rib hump on the left side. Rib humps are classic symptoms of scoliosis. You can also see how here spine is not aligned straight down her back. Some of you may not see much at all, this is why it is missed bc you have to know what to look for…….Please ask your pediatrician to do a scoli check on your child!!!
Jaylie finally started the Mehta casting journey April 28th…just shy of of 14 months old. We took some time deciding on where to get her casted and with what dr, because her heart condition threw a few obsticales in the deciding process. Here are some pictures of her getting her first cast and the cast in action:
She has now been in her first cast for almost 11 weeks, as I am writing this post. She will be getting it switched out in a few weeks. It definatly took some time to adjust to for her and us. She had started walking just a few weeks before the cast, so as you can imagine the cast really threw off her balance. She was constantly falling and bumping her head, so we took the suggestion of other mammas and got her this little soft helmet:
We called her toadstool when she wore it 🙂 This seriously gave her more confidence and security in walking around and gave us some peace of mind. I can not wait to see how her back looks in a few weeks when she gets the cast off. I will post pictures. She will have a 5 day break between casts and we are going to go swimming as much as possible and basically live in the bathtub….LOL.
CAST BREAK #1
CAST BREAK #2:
Cast #3: 20 months old—-