Finding the right treatment for Quinn
Dr. Price diagnosed Quinn with early onset scoliosis, a condition that causes the spine to bend, or curve, as a child grows. In Quinn’s case, she has a 56-degree right curve in her spine. She also had an abnormality of her brainstem and spinal cord detected on MRI.
There are a wide range of treatment options for children with early onset scoliosis, from casting to bracing to surgery.
Though casting is typically more successful in children under 2, when the family discussed their concerns about surgery at such an early age with Dr. Price, he agreed to give serial Mehta casting a try.
Quinn’s casts were made of fiberglass and were applied under a general anesthetic on a specially designed table, allowing Dr. Price to adjust her curve slightly with each new cast.
The goal with casting is to achieve a straight spine, but if that isn’t possible, preventing the curve from advancing is the next best option.
For Quinn, the casts didn’t straighten her spine, but they did prevent the curve from getting worse, and they helped her internal organs develop normally.
“We knew because Quinn was older when we started casting that it might not work as well for her, but it has helped her get to the next phase of her treatment,” Meredith said. “When she was in the cast, her curve was more like 20 to 28 degrees. That meant her heart and lungs could grow and work as they should.”
Thanks to casting every couple of months, Quinn’s curve hasn’t advanced in 3 ½ years. “We are blessed that Dr. Price has been able to help us hold that curve, and that Quinn hasn’t had to have a surgery yet,” Meredith said.
Recently though, casting became uncomfortable for Quinn, and it restricted her movements. When wearing the cast, she couldn’t shower, or swim, or play in the sand. “It’s 8 to 12 weeks in the cast without taking it off,” Meredith said.
So when Dr. Price suggested it might be time to leave casting behind and pursue a new type of bracing called Rigo Cheneau, Quinn was in.
To celebrate the end of casting, Meredith scheduled a photo shoot. The photographer, Amber Dawkins, lined up all 15 of Quinn’s casts and three braces chronologically in a field. Quinn posed with her casts and braces, smiling and victorious, ready to leave casting behind as she transitioned to the next stage in her treatment.