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scolio1964
01-24-2011, 10:46 AM
I had heard that the VBS was only for kids under 12. My daughter is 14. Can anyone tell me about their experiences with it? Good or bad - I'm just curious. My daughter is a ballet dancer. Does anyone know anyone who has had this and continued to dance? How is it different than the fusion? Is it only temporary?

Thanks!

mariaf
01-24-2011, 01:47 PM
Hi Scolio1964,

If you want to learn more about VBS, I would suggest you visit www.vertebralstapling.com. This website is dedicated to sharing experiences and information regarding VBS

In answer to some of your questions, the guidelines for VBS have less to do with chronological age and more to do with Risser/bone age/amount of growth remaining. Your daughter may or may not be a candidate based on size of curve, amount of growth remaining, etc.

Kids who have VBS can do ballet, play sports and pretty much anything they want - there are no restrictions. (See my signature for more information - my son is an avid baseball and basketball player).

Please also feel free to e-mail me at mariaf305@yahoo.com - and again, I would definitely visit the VBS website to learn more from folks with firsthand experience. There are also some articles and information from several of the doctors who perform VBS.

Best of luck to you!

scolio1964
01-24-2011, 06:28 PM
Thanks for the info. I looked at the site, but have a few more questions. How does it affect the kids who are still growing? How do they grow with the staples? My daughter is 14, but is clearly still growing. Doctor says maybe for 2 more years. Her curve has gotten worse while wearing the brace, so I'm just trying to consider all the options out there for her now. Her curve is 36 degrees right now. Is this relatively new? How many kids have actually had it done?

Thank you!

scolio1964
01-24-2011, 06:34 PM
Sorry - another question. What exactly is being stapled?

thanks!!

mariaf
01-24-2011, 07:38 PM
Hi,

I will try to answer your questions as best I can. Most of this information is also on the VBS site. Keep in mind that I am not a medical professional so I'm sure someone in the field could give you more scientific and exact answers - but I will gladly share what I know. (In fact, the best person to talk for these answers to would be Janet Cerrone - see my signature for her contact info. She has been involved with VBS since its inception).

VBS does not affect the growth of the child. Unlike a solid rod, the staples are attached separately to the vertebrae so there is space in between them, and also the staples themselves do have some 'give' I'm told. No fusing of the spine takes place. It has been explained to me in medical jargon - and made perfect sense - but I'm giving the layman's version.

I do not have, at hand, the number of VBS surgeries performed (in the hundreds for sure, perhaps more - another question Janet would probably have a pretty good idea about), but I can tell you that it's been performed for about decade (since approx. 2001). It is being done at several hospitals around the country by some pretty well known names in the field. There is a list on the VBS site of these doctors - not sure if you saw it.

In order to be considered a candidate for VBS, there are specific criteria that must be met (i.e., not everyone is a candidate).

I'm guessing that you were not able to access the discussion forum of the site. That section is restricted to members in order to protect the privacy of the children. I would suggest you join the group if you wish to learn more. It is a very simple, brief screening process. Basically, with all of the wackos on the internet, we just want to know you are a parent seeking information :-)

Best of luck and please let me know if there are any other questions I can answer.

scolio1964
01-24-2011, 08:04 PM
thank you. No, I couldn't access the discussion forum, but I'll join so that I can. I did see the list of doctors and there's one in Houston where we live. I have read several documents about it and the degree of the curve varies. Some say the vbs isn't successful in curves over 35 degrees and some say it is. Your son's was 40 and now is 25. I'd call that a success!! My daughter is still growing and hasn't started her period yet, but I know that could happen anytime now. She's already worn the brace for 3 years and looking at wearing it for approximately 2 more - and maybe even longer. That's a lot to ask of a teenager! She would do it, though, if she thought that was her only option. What made you decide to do the vbs? Did your son try wearing a brace? If so, did his curve get worse?

Thank you!

mariaf
01-25-2011, 09:48 AM
I can certainly understand your being a bit confused about the cut-off for VBS. For one thing, after analyzing the data that was compiled over almost a decade, it was determined that while VBS is, in some cases successful on larger curves (you correctly pointed out my son's case), it is 'most' successful on curves under 35 degrees. (This data was compiled at Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia, where the majority of VBS cases had been performed up to that point).

In addition to my son (who is nearly 7 years post-op), there are others like his (for example, I know of a girl, 5+ years post-op, who started out with a 42 degree curve and is now also in the mid 20's). Both of these children were younger (5 and 6, respectively) when they had VBS and I am not sure if that played a role in the outcomes.

Bottom line - while VBS 'can' be successful for 40-ish curves, the success rate jumps when the curve is under 35 degrees.

I'm glad to hear that you plan to join the VBS forum. There really is so much more information about VBS there and you can hear from dozens of parents, not just me :-)

Based on your daughter's age, if you decide to go this route, you might want to seek a consult sooner rather than later. It's in her favor that she has not begun menstruating yet. As far as raising teenage girls, I have a 19 year old daughter (a very headstrong one at that), so I can certainly understand the challenges of bracing - or anything else for that matter - LOL!

In answer to your question, we chose VBS for my son because otherwise he was facing years and years of bracing and almost certain fusion. It seemed like a very good option and, in fact - so far - has turned out to be the best thing we could have done for him. In addition to the benefit of him not having to deal with being in middle school in a brace, he is very active in sports. Yes, he wore a brace for a few years prior to VBS - it held his curve for the most part. I have heard of several cases where a curve progressed despite bracing but responded well to VBS.

I am by no means saying that VBS is the best choice for everyone - or that it is always successful. It has just worked out well for us. The doctors try very hard to only select patients for VBS if they feel there is a very good chance of success. And now that they have nearly a decade's worth of data to fall back on, they have a pretty good idea of who these ideal candidates are.

Hope this information is helpful to you.