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Thread: 8 year old son

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    7

    8 year old son

    We were told today that our son (who turned 8 in June) has scoliosis...15 degree curve and a Risser score of 0. 15 degrees does not sound horrible to me but the doctor expressed serious concern and said that he will definately be braced at some point and will quite possibly need surgery. He is in the process of referring us...he has recommended Dupont Children's Hospital over Hershey Medical Center. Any thoughts? Does anyone have specific experience with doctors in this area - Central PA, DE, MD, NJ?

    Is it ever possible that a young child is diagnosed and the curve does not progress?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Mary Lou Guest
    Hi Wendy,

    I live about 20 minutes away from Hershey and my 14 y.o. daughter had surgery there almost 8 months ago. Her doctor is Dr. Lee Segal and he is AWESOME!!!! When Jamie was originally diagnosed, our family doctor sent us to Hershey first since it was so close, but he strongly recommended DuPont Clinic in DE if we weren't happy with Hershey. He personally took his son to DuPont some 25 years ago and was very happy there.

    I'm curious as to where you live. The reason I ask is that we have a Scoliosis support group right at the hospital in Hershey. Feel free to e-mail me at Spinesupport05@aol.com for more information on the support group, or Dr. Segal.

    Mary Lou

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    NY State on border of northeastern PA
    Posts
    20

    recent scoliosis diagnosis for your son

    Hi Wendy! First of all--welcome. This is a wonderful support network for us moms of scoliosis children. As you may know form my thread, my son Alex who is 5 (almost 6) was just diagnosed with a 30 degree S curve (thoracic & lumbar spine) in July and I was very shocked as well at first. We found it during his pre-Kindergarten physical and a follow-up x-ray. Previously I never even knew much about scoliosis and I was overwhelmed at first too.

    As you research further (as I did and still am!) you will notice that scoliosis in young children, especially boys, is more rare than in teenagers. Dr. Albanese in Syracuse, NY explained it this way: With young boys there is a negative aspect in that boys grow more rapidly and usually for a longer period of time than girls. Therefore, since a young boy has so much longer to grow the curve has a very high chance of progressing. But younger children usually respond to bracing, if that's an option for your son, more readily than a teenager would as their bodies are more flexible since they are still growing at a rapid rate.

    You are not alone--I have been in your shoes and still am waiting for an MRI in about 3 weeks to view Alex's spinal chord before deciding if bracing is the right option. Just take it one step at a time. The first step is to get your son evaluated by a reputable Pediatric Orthopedist/Orthopedic Surgeon. If you reference my thread, Linda posted a link there that is helpful in finding a doctor in your area. Best wishes!

    I'm sure Carmell will be posting some very informative information soon as well. She is a wellspring of knowledge about scoliosis, as everyone here has been.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    7
    Kim - Thanks for the info. I printed out the list of specialists from your link. I am also waiting to hear who my local orthopedist recommends and have a call in to my pediatrician...probably looking at Hershey, Dupont or maybe someone in Philly. I feel lucky to be in a part of the country where I have options. I was interested in your thread because you have a son with scoliosis. The thought of 10-12 years left of growth leaves me in a panic. And we have TALL men in my family...

    Good luck to you! Sounds like you have really educated yourself in such a short period of time!

    Wendy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    7
    I'm also wondering if anyone has heard of Dr Richard Bowen at A I Dupont. He is the Chairman of the Department of Orthopedics and did a fellowship in pediatric orthopedics. Other than that I can't find any info. Our first appt is with him. Any thoughts?

    Wendy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    1,010
    Hi Wendy - Welcome

    The others have given you great information. Remember to take all this information one step at a time. Scoliosis is not common in young children. Our very young children need to be under the care of pediatric orthopedic surgeons who have extensive experience in dealing with scoliosis in young children. Dr. Segal is a good recommendation. Dr. Bowen is a very good hip and leg surgeon, and has some experience with scoliosis. Drs. Betz and D'Andrea at Shriners in Philly have extensive experience in dealing with scoliosis in young children. Dr. Betz is the sitting president of the Scoliosis Research Society, which means scoliosis is a major focus in his practice.

    Did they tell you if the scoliosis is idiopathic (meaning no structural problems with the vertebrae) or congenital (meaning there is at least one vertebrae that didn't form correctly? Where is the scoliosis located (cervical, thoracic or lumbar)? Does your son have any other medical condition that may complicate treatment for scoliosis?

    Good luck with your appointments with the orthopedic docs. Make sure you have a list of questions, written in priority order. It's also a good idea to take another adult with you to HEAR all the information the doc has for you.

    My best - Keep us posted.
    Carmell
    mom to Kara, idiopathic scoliosis, Blake 19, GERD and Braydon 14, VACTERL, GERD, DGE, VEPTR #137, thoracic insufficiency, rib anomalies, congenital scoliosis, missing coccyx, fatty filum/TC, anal stenosis, horseshoe kidney, dbl ureter in left kidney, ureterocele, kidney reflux, neurogenic bladder, bilateral hip dysplasia, right leg/foot dyplasia, tibial torsion, clubfoot with 8 toes, pes cavus, single umblilical artery, etc. http://carmellb-ivil.tripod.com/myfamily/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    7
    Thanks Carmell. I appreciate the information. My thought is that Dr Bowen is a good first step...and possibly even a good doctor to help us through this monitoring phase. My son's scoliosis is only a 15 degree curve at this point so it will probably be a while before any action is taken. I wonder if Dr Betz and Dr D'Andrea would even see him at this point?? Regardless, if we get to a point when surgery is looking like a very strong possibility they would probably be one of the first opinions that I would seek. Hopefully that is a long way off...but maybe I am being too optimistic.

    I don't really know anything about his curve so I will find out that info at our appt with Dr Bowen in September. I had scoliosis as an adolescent so I am assuming this is a genetic problem as opposed to a structural problem with the vertebrae. My scoliosis never progressed to the point of needing treatment although I do have quite the hump on my back.

    Any thoughts on how height can impact scoliosis...my son has always been in the 99% for height. My husband is only 6' but my dad is 6'2" and I have maternal and paternal uncles who are 6"4 and 6"5. Does scoliosis get worse for tall people?

    Thanks to all for your thoughts.
    Wendy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    S. Jersey
    Posts
    16
    Hi Wendy. My son Billy has mild scoliosis (40) from congenital birth defects (tilted pelvis, hemivertebrae, leg length discrepancy), and has seen Dr. Bowen since two months of age for that, his clubfoot and his leg length discrepancy. He is a great doctor, and a very personable one at that. The hospital itself is great also, valet parking, friendly staff, nice updated facilities.

    We have also seen Dr. Betz and he is good also, as is the Shriner's hospital.

    When is your appointment with Dr. Bowen? We have one set up for 9/29 for a six month follow-up...
    Connie - Mom to Billy 5
    (CRS/VACTERLS incl. tethered cord, IA, single kidney, hemisacrum, levoscoliosis with hemivertebrae (fusion T11 to S2/hips 8/06), extra left rib, hypospadius, hypoplastic left leg w/clubfoot and 4.5cm length discrepancy,GI issues) conni60640@aol.com, http://members.tripod.com/conni60640-ivil/
    TC support group http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/LMC-TCS/
    Congenital scoliosis support group - http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group...liosisSupport/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    1
    Wendy,

    Our son just had surgery at DuPont with Dr. Bowen last week and we have nothing but good things to say about him and the hospital. He is well published and has extensive experience in the field, plus, he has a great rapport with the kids, he will put you at ease immediately. You and your son are in great hands.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    7
    Thank you! It is really good to hear some feedback.

    Connie - our appt is on the 23rd so we will miss you by a few days.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    7
    We just had our first appt with the pediatric orthopedist. He confirmed that our son has a very mild curve - 15 degrees. He was very optimistic. Wants to see him back in 6 months and if the curve has progressed he will do an MRI and then brace him. If not, continue to monitor him. Said there was only a 20% chance that he will need to be braced. I am happy, yet cautious. This sounds so much more positive than I expected since he is only 8. While I know most people in this forum have only experience scoliosis that has progressed I am curious as to whether this is such a common occurence for an 8 year old...to be diagnosed but not progress. I am wondering if perhaps he meant a 20% chance in the next six months...but maybe higher percentage over the next 6-8 years. This appt was just so different that the appt with our local orthopedist who painted a MUCH less optimistic picture.

    Thanks for any thoughts.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Erie PA
    Posts
    49
    Wendy, unfortunately, doctors don't really know what curves will progress. They can give you the numbers, but that's it. It's anyone's guess, really. I was diagnosed when I was 9 with a 13* curve. It was watched pretty losely for three years and a year went by while the hospital backed up my check ups. That was when my curve suddenly went up to 43T/31L, against everything my doctor had predicted. So basically, spines will surprise you!

    I was able to live a perfectly normal life until my curve progressed, which is great. I'm really thankful for that. And your son will be able to as well until treatment other than observation, if any, is needed.
    I'm Karin. I had surgery for my scoliosis on October 13, 2005, and am doing well! I formerly wore a providence brace and did PT for treatment.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    5

    mom2

    hi,
    my son is also 8 years old and was diagnosed with a 25 degree curve in april. at his 6 week check wearing the wilmington brace he was at a 30 degree. last week he was at a 27 degree which is really the same with the margin for error. he had an mri and does have chiari but no syrinx. we have had different opinions whether to do the decompression surgery. most say definately if there is a syrinx but i don't know if i want to wait until it does slip further. does anyone have any ideas what we should do?
    we decided to go with the wilminton brace because of the lightness compared to the boston brace which our daughter wore for a year and was much heavier. everyone is wonderful at dupont and i feel is a great place to go. i am sure that if your child goes any further degree wise they will do an mri to rule out chiari. they say to take care of chiari before the age of ten if possible because of greater success rates with stopping the progression of the curve. you might want to explore this with the doctor's if the time comes and they want to brace. good luck and feel free to ask anything or your child can ask my son any questions.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    16
    My son was 8 years old when he was diagnosed last Dec 2005. He has an S-shaped curve, with the 27 deg the largest curve. Because of his young age, his pediatrician recommended a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Cheng, at Stanford. The MRI showed no known cause for his scoliosis. He has been in a Boston brace 23/7 since he got it at the beginning of February.

    His followup appointment in the brace showed that the brace was working, and he has another appointment in August 2006. He doesn't complain much about wearing the brace, so I guess for now, we will stay with it. We did not get a second opinion yet. But, I know with this, things can change with time and growth. We do have a Sacramento, CA Shriner's hospital about 3 hours away, if we choose to go there.

    This doctor does not generally brace if the curvature is less than 25 deg, but other doctors are different. Good luck with your son. Feel free to ask any questions.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    ny
    Posts
    1,809
    Hi Wendy,

    Welcome! I'm glad to hear that for now they will just be watching your son's curve (15 degrees is not even to the point where most doctors would brace a child).

    I just want to add to what Carmell said. My son is a patient at Shriners Philadelphia. We've seen both Dr. Betz and Dr. D'Andrea. What is different about their practice, I think, is that they not only see the "typical" scoliosis patient (teenagers and adolescents, mostly girls) but many, many different types of cases - including much younger kids - on a daily basis.

    You'll see my son had vertebral stapling performed by Dr. D'Andrea over two years ago. We chose this option because he was only 5 at the time and facing many years of bracing. Just another option to keep in mind IF the time should ever come where you need to take action. Hopefully, it won't come to that - but for other parents reading this as well who may be facing difficult decisions about treatment options or choosing the right doctor, I can't say enough about my faith and confidence in both Dr. Betz and Dr. D'Andrea.

    Good luck to you
    mariaf305@yahoo.com
    Mom to David, age 17, braced June 2000 to March 2004
    Vertebral Body Stapling 3/10/04 for 40 degree curve (currently mid 20's)

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/ScoliosisTethering/

    http://pediatricspinefoundation.org/

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