Ella St. Pierre | CaringBridge

Ella St. Pierre

First post: 7/8/2016 Latest post: 5/31/2017
Ella was diagnosed with Scoliosis at 6 years old.  She wore a brace for 22 hours a day, for several years, until I finally asked her doctor is there was a night brace she could wear since it seemed that surgery was going to be inevitable for her anyway.  She has been wearing her night brace for about 3 years.  Unfortunately, her curve worsened, as of May 2nd her thoracic curve measured 41 degrees.  We were told by her local doctor that the only surgical option was fusion surgery "when she stops growing."  
This year, Ella started complaining of back aches, so I asked a friend of ours whose daughter is the same age, how she had already had back surgery over a year ago.  She sent me the link to an article about VBT and told me it was the best thing they ever did for her daughter and had no regrets.  Ted and I talked about it and decided to look into it further.  I called Shriner's Hospital in Philadelphia (this is where our friend's daughter had her surgery), and gave my information to the intake person there.  Within the hour, Heather, the Physician's Assistant, called and spoke to me for about 30 minutes.  We sent x-rays to them so see if it would be worth our driving to Philly for a consult.  We did, and after looking at Ella's growth plates and other extensive x-rays, Dr. Joshua Pahys determined that she is a good candidate for this new surgery.  It is not yet FDA approved, but currently Shriner's is participating in the study to obtain the approval.  They have been performing VBT surgery for about 4 years now, along with surgeons in Princeton, CHoP, and a handful of other hospitals around the world. Here is a link that explains the procedure, along with an interview from Dr. Betz (surgeon at Princeton): https://posna.org/Blogs/The-Resident-Review/March-2015/Emerging-Technology-An-Interview-with-Randal-... (https://posna.org/Blogs/The-Resident-Review/March-2015/Emerging-Technology-An-Interview-with-Randal-Betz)
We are hopeful that this procedure will help alleviate Ella's back discomfort, free her from the brace, and prevent having to go through fusion surgery down the road. 
I am equally hopeful that orthopedic doctors will soon inform parents of ALL options for treating scoliosis, so that we do not have to hear about the newest technologies through the scoliosis grapevine.  I am thankful that we found this option through our friend, but Ella's doctor should have at the very least, shared that this procedure is happening out there, even if he is not yet doing it. So... if you are a parent searching for options and stumbled to our site, I hope you find our journey helpful in yours.


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