Siblings Share Care Journey at Shriners Children’s Lexington
Jackson and Maelyn are siblings, so they have plenty in common.
Both have bright blue eyes that light up with their wide, cheerful smiles. They share the same colored-golden hair. They love playing outside with their other brother and sisters, and they both enjoy playing sports. This pair shares another special thread, though: Both have benefitted from the care of Ryan Muchow, M.D., at Shriners Children’s Lexington.
Maelyn Makes Strides
Maelyn is an active 9-year-old who loves riding horses. She plays softball and enjoys dance and gymnastics. She does all of this pain-free thanks to surgery to correct hip dysplasia, which caused walking difficulty when she was a baby.
Maelyn came to Shriners Children’s Lexington because she was limping, said her mom, Kara.
“She would tiptoe on one side when she was walking, so I fought to get her referred to a specialist who could look at it,” Kara recalled.
Maelyn saw Dr. Muchow, who diagnosed her with hip dysplasia on the left side, which means her left hip was loose in the socket.
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. Typically, the ball at the top of the thighbone fits into the hip socket. Hip dysplasia is present when the hip joint has not developed properly and the socket is too shallow, allowing the ball to slip partially or completely out of the joint.
Hip dysplasia is treatable, but early detection and treatment is very important. If left untreated, hip dysplasia can cause permanent damage and lead to pain and loss of hip function later in life.
At first, Dr. Muchow tried casting for Maelyn’s hips. This allows the hips to be held in a better position for hip joint development. The goal is to influence the natural growth processes of the child or baby so a more stable hip joint is developed.
“It didn’t stick,” Kara said, “so we decided on surgery to repair her hip.”
When she was 15 months old, Maelyn had surgery to correct the looseness in her hip joint. She wore a spica cast after surgery for several weeks. This cast is used to keep the hip aligned in the new, corrected position while the tissues around the hip joint heal and re-form into a proper hip joint.
Today, Maelyn’s hip X-rays show normal development. She walks evenly on both feet and reports that she is pain-free.
It’s never just in and out and rushing you through your visit. It’s a personal experience.
Jackson is a smiley 7-year-old who loves playing video games and soccer. He was able to find answers about his own health, thanks to the watchful eye of his sister’s doctor. During Maelyn’s care journey, Kara sought an opinion from Dr. Muchow about Jackson.
Jackson is a twin and was not meeting his milestones at the same time as his brother, Kara said.
“With each milestone, he got progressively more behind,” she said. “I was noticing at this point he was walking unevenly and just carried his right side differently.”
Dr. Muchow suggested that Jackson may have suffered a brain injury, and he referred the family to a neurologist, who confirmed Jackson has cerebral palsy (CP), which was caused by a stroke in infancy.
Cerebral palsy impacts each person differently. Jackson’s CP causes weakness in his right side. He sees Dr. Muchow, who monitors his hips and legs, and also Scott Riley, M.D., the hand and upper extremity specialist at Shriners Children’s Lexington, who monitors his arm and hand.
He regularly has movement studies done in the motion analysis center at Shriners Children’s Lexington, to determine if his condition is changing over time. These studies use some of the same technical special effects used in movies and video games, to collect information that helps doctors guide treatment.
At his most recent appointment, Jackson got a great report and shared that he is feeling “good!”
A Strong Trust
For Kara, Shriners Children’s has become a safe place, a second home for her children.
“I have full faith in Shriners,” she said. “It’s hard sometimes to trust doctors, but I fully trust our doctors here.”
Kara said she particularly loves that each of her children receives the attention they need.
“It’s never just in and out and rushing you through your visit,” she said. “It’s a personal experience.”