During an appointment at Children’s to get her sore feet checked, six-year-old Lauren Gassel received a scoliosis screening, just in case.
The screening led to an X-ray—and the discovery of a 23-degree, S-shaped curve in Lauren’s spine.
Lauren’s diagnosis put her family on a long road. It started with chief of Orthopaedics Michael Schmitz, M.D. When the curve progressed to 29 degrees, he put Lauren in a modified Boston brace, developed at Children’s, to help stop the curve’s progression.
Lauren was diligent about wearing the brace 18 to 20 hours a day.
“It changes your entire life,” said Lorie Gassel, Lauren’s mother. “That is a time of a tremendous amount of growth. It was very difficult for Lauren.”
She came back to Children’s two or three times a year for adjustments and received a new brace about once a year. Lauren wore the brace consistently for six years, past her 12th birthday.