Re: Newly diagnosed son. Questions on bracing
Hi Trish and welcome! Iím glad you have found this site (which has been so helpful to me) but sorry for the circumstances that brought you here.
1. Has anyone successfully used the Kyphologic brace instead of the Milwaukee brace? Nope, it wasnít an option when I was braced (and I havenít seen many studies showing itís effective). I can tell you I didnít wear my Milwaukee brace for more than a month because of how I was teased at school. I think that todayís braces are a bit more Ďuser friendlyí plus fashions (such as hoodies) can do a better job at hiding them.
2. I have read that bracing isn't really effective over 70 degrees. Is surgery inevitable? Iíve read the same about bracing not being effective but as long as itís worn before skeletal maturity is reached I think the brace could keep the curvature from getting worse. I donít know if Iíd say surgery is inevitableÖ It could depend on whether or not the curve continues to progress after skeletal maturity, plus if it causes your son pain.
3. Has anyone done surgery in lieu of bracing with a larger curve? I hate to put him through this bracing regimen if it is inevitable that he will need surgery. I would think that would be definitely be considered on larger curves.
4. Is it crazy to think that doing surgery sooner than later (while he is in 8th grade now) so he could be good to go for high school? Not crazy at all but I think with kyphosis most surgeons want to wait until skeletal maturity is reached before considering surgery.
I have Scheuermann's Kyphosis (SK). I remember being told to 'stand up straight' by my family at about age 10 and then my pediatrician telling my mom that I was just lazy. She believed that for awhile but finally at age 16 I got to see a specialist and was fitted for a Milwaukee brace. Unfortunately, I didn't wear it long and my mom wasnít always around to keep the brace on me. Maybe thatís what your doc meant about not Ďforcing the braceí?
I have heard some people here on the forum say bracing helped minimize their curve, but I donít think that improvement was permanent.
Does your son experience any pain from his SK? That can be a big factor in whether or not to do surgery. If not, he could probably get by with just keeping fit throughout his life to help support his spine and improve posture slightly. If he does have pain or if the specialists feel the curve will progress (which can happen after reaching skeletal maturity though itís not the norm) then I think surgery should be considered.
As Hduggan said, surgery for SK is more difficult than for scoliosis. On the plus side, I think the odds of a successful outcome (and quicker recovery) are a lot higher for someone in their teens than at an older age.
Hope this is of some help to you and your son. Kudos to you for being such a caring mom and doing all you can to make this situation the best as possible for him.
I was diagnosed with Scheuermann's Kyphosis at age 16. I had an 80-degree thoracolumbar kyphosis and mild scoliosis. My posterior fusion surgery was performed by Dr. Sethi in Seattle on Earth Day 2014.
It reduced my kyphosis to 47 degrees and my scoliosis to about zero!