We looked into the Milwaukee brace because we didn’t know how aggressive my daughter's curve would be, and we didn’t want to lose the wonderful correction we had obtained with casting.
We paid $5,400 for the brace. We chose a pale pink colour imprinted with butterflies. Yes, the design was lovely. A low profile Milwaukee brace without the neck ring. It had an open construct to allow for lung and rib cage expansion, crucial for growing children. The pressure points were supposed to be on the curve itself. Right! Unfortunately, someone at the hospital really messed up. A misplaced screw along the middle bar was digging into her chest and long- term wear would have caused “Pectus Excavatum!” No, this is not a Harry Potter spell! It is a very serious medical condition!
When she tried on the brace for the first time, she was silently crying, but the orthotist dismissed her behaviour with a wave of his hand. He said to me, “She’ll get used to it, they all do.” I was led to believe that this was the typical reaction to the dreaded Milwaukee brace. I was then instructed how to tighten the brace to the correct markings, gradually over a period of time.
Throughout this, I could see that my five year old daughter was visibly distressed. She was afraid to verbalize her discomfort in front of this man who was telling her that the brace was supposed to help her scoliosis. I should have known there was a problem because she was such a trooper with casting and never complained once.
She wore the brace through the first night and moaned in her sleep. It was a very long night for me! Silly me thought it was a weaning in, getting adjusted to the new brace period. The following morning, when I removed the brace, there was a huge red dent right in the middle of her chest. We didn’t have a scheduled follow-up with the orthotist for another 6 weeks. Maybe another parent would have missed it -- but not me! Needless to say, the whole experience left me shaken and she never wore the blasted Milwaukee brace again! I lost faith and trust in the orthotist. In fact, if I ever saw that orthotist again, I’d probably get violent.
Lucky for us, we had an appointment scheduled in Montreal for the SpineCor brace. Her last cast was removed the week she turned 5 and two weeks later, she was fitted with the SpineCor brace
Correcting Scoliosis during the AIS
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JOHN E. LONSTEIN MD: MILWAUKEE BRACE TREATMENT OF SCOLIOSIS
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