“The quickest way to a parent’s heart is how you treat their child; and we couldn’t have gone to a better hospital,” Misty and Rob Dear say of their daughter Adrienne’s care at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville. At ten months old, Adrienne’s parents noticed her shoulders were not level when she was sitting up straight. A visit to the doctor determined her spine had already curved to 40 degrees.
Adrienne’s parents describe, “As soon as Adrienne was diagnosed with progressive infantile scoliosis, or a curvature of the spine, we immediately began researching her condition. We discovered the Greenville Shriners Hospital offers a non-surgical approach to correcting infantile scoliosis called Risser or Mehta casting. We found that Dr. Pete was the best doctor and the casting option made the most sense of how to correct our daughter’s spine.”
At a year old, Adrienne was placed in her first Risser/Mehta cast. A Risser/Mehta cast is a plaster cast that is applied in the operating room from the patient’s collarbone to the bottom of the spine. When the cast is applied, pressure is placed on the cast causing the spine to straighten. When the cast hardens, it holds the spine in this position. Subsequent casts each progressively straighten the patient’s spine. Adrienne wore each of her casts for two to three months, and then had a one week break before having the next cast put on. Her parents say, “When we first started casting we were scared, but the love and support from everyone at the hospital was amazing. They keep the child’s best interest at heart. The Greenville Shriners Hospital is an incredible place with special people. They are like family. You can see the love and time that goes in to making each child feel special.”
Three-years-old and twelve Risser casts later, Adrienne’s spine is completely straight. Her parents excitedly explain, “Even though we cannot say that she is completely healed of scoliosis, we can say that she will not be crippled due to scoliosis. As Adrienne grew, the Risser/Mehta casts held her spine straight so her organs and ribs were able to develop normally. It also taught her spine to grow straight.” Adrienne will maintain her straight spine by wearing an orthosis, or brace, and will be continually monitored at the Greenville Shriners Hospital to make sure her spine remains straight as she grows.
Misty says, “As we began casting we were told the words “thank you” a lot. The staff was thanking us for allowing them to treat Adrienne! When we asked why do you all keep thanking us? Their response was that some parents get discouraged and stop treatment even when they’re told their options. Our options were start casting or watch her get worse. As parents we could not imagine not casting. The real “thank you’s” should be given to Dr. Pete, the nurses, the staff, the volunteers, the donors, and to everyone at Shriners Hospitals for Children.”
At Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville, approximately one third of the patients we care for with progressive infantile scoliosis can be cured, never needing to have spine surgery. At three years old, Adrienne Dear is hoping to remain in that statistic.