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Patient With Lifelong Scoliosis Flourishes With Halo Program Treatment

With a love of unicorns and glitter, patient McKayla’s dynamic personality permeates the halls of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville. A patient since she was 17-months-old, McKayla was diagnosed with infantile scoliosis – a curvature of the spine in children under the age of 3.

McKayla’s treatment has consisted of 15 Mehta casts, three back braces, and now, halo traction. Halo traction is an upward pulling of the head and spine using a weighted pulley system to elongate and help straighten the spine. The treatment has resulted in a stay at the hospital lasting nearly three months.

Following halo traction, McKayla will have growing rods placed in her back. Growing rods are surgically placed and used to help correct a child’s curve while still allowing the natural growth process to continue.

McKayla’s mom, Amanda, said the hospital staff has given their family the answers they were looking for, and the results they desired – helping McKayla’s spine grow straight. McKayla had enjoyed participating in cheerleading and basketball. However, with a curve as significant as McKayla’s, daily functions as simple as breathing are difficult.

Since being put in halo traction in February 2020, McKayla’s breathing function has increased by 17%. “She feels better overall,” said Amanda. “Her curve has improved by over 50%.” In addition to her medical improvements, Amanda explained that she has seen drastic improvement in her daughter’s personality, as she can tell she is feeling better with the care she is currently receiving.  

Amanda said the hospital staff does a great job of explaining every procedure and answering any questions her daughter may have. Hospital stays can be nerve-racking for a child, and McKayla is more at ease knowing everything to expect ahead of time.

With help from our child life department, which keeps her busy with games and activities, Mckayla has stayed entertained and engaged while she waits for the growing rod operation that will enhance her quality of life.

McKayla looks forward to returning to the activities she enjoys most.

McKayla in halo traction

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