Delaney Lundquist warms up for her tennis lesson.
“My back feels flexible and I’m grateful!” proclaims 16-year-old Delaney Lundquist as she warms up for her tennis lesson on a hot July morning in Elk River, Minnesota.
Delaney had vertebral body tethering (VBT) surgery at Gillette Children’s in January 2021 to help correct scoliosis, which is a curvature in her spine.
Delaney’s mother, Jana Lundquist, marvels at her daughter’s athletic skills and is pleased the timing worked out for Delaney to have the VBT procedure.
VBT was approved by the FDA in 2019 and Gillette orthopedic and spine surgeon, Walter Truong, MD specializes in the procedure. During the surgery, Truong used internal bone screws to attach a strong cord called a tether to Delaney’s spine. The tether is flexible and, when tightened, helps to correct the curve as Delaney continues to grow.
Scoliosis care without limits
VBT was not an option for Delaney’s two older sisters who were also diagnosed with scoliosis.
“My two older daughters had spinal fusion surgery at Gillette, and they’re happy with the results,” Jana says. “They are a bit jealous that their younger sister’s recovery was so much easier. Delaney spent just two nights at Gillette while my older daughters spent five days in the hospital after surgery.”
A shorter hospital stay is not the only benefit of VBT surgery as most fusions done at Gillette today are able to go home at two or three days due to improved pain control combinations and early mobilization. In general, the recovery time is about three of four months after spine fusion. Delaney was back on the tennis court in about five weeks.
Another advantage is patients who have VBT can continue to play contact sports. That’s important for Delaney who also plays lacrosse.
“After the spinal fusion my two older daughters had to curtail their athletic activities,” Jana says. “This is not the case with Delaney. It’s incredible that she has no limits!”
A long, trusted relationship
The Lundquist family has a long history with scoliosis and a strong relationship with Gillette Children’s.
Jana came to Gillette in the 1980s after she was diagnosed with scoliosis in the third grade.
“I was first seen by orthopedic surgeon, John Moe, MD, which is incredible because he was such a pioneer in spine care,” Jana recalls.
Many medical sources credit Dr. Moe as being the “father of modern-day scoliosis care” and his innovations helped to build the foundation for the Gillette spine team to flourish today.
Jana says in her day scoliosis care was much more limited. “The only real option for me was full-time bracing. Today, thanks, in part, to the work and research done at Gillette, my children have access to a variety of spine care options.”
The Lundquist family have all received scoliosis care at Gillette Children's.
Customized care options
The youngest child in the Lundquist family, 11-year-old Grant, is also being treated for scoliosis at Gillette.
“Dr. Truong is working with Grant on nighttime bracing,” Jana says.
Truong and the spine team at Gillette are doing some innovative research in the effectiveness of nighttime bracing. The Gillette spine team is doing long-term research to pinpoint exactly how bracing can help patients.
“Grant does not have to wear his brace to school,” Jana says.
“My family has been coming to Gillette for decades and we continue to be amazed by how all the research and custom care options are really changing the treatments for scoliosis.”
Gillette is a national leader in pediatric spine care
Gillette Children's offers a variety of treatment options for scoliosis. These options include:
- Magnetic Expansion Control (MAGEC) rods that can be inserted in the spine once and can be lengthened in a noninvasive way using a remote control and magnets.
- Spinal Fusion permanently joins two or more vertebrae together to help straighten a crooked spine.
- Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT) is a less invasive technique that uses an anchor and screw placed into the spine to straighten it over time.
Search our directory of care team providers, find our locations, and more.
Request an appointment to connect with Gillette providers.