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Even with a cast pressing all around her torso, 5-year-old Nora is a bundle of energy as she runs all over Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville showing off her new Risser cast’s neon colors. Nora has been coming to the hospital since she was diagnosed with infantile idiopathic scoliosis at age 2. Nora’s mother, Tonya, says, “One day while Nora was playing I noticed that her spine wasn’t straight. I was horrified and scared.” She immediately took Nora to see a doctor. The doctor said if she did not do something within the next two to three months, that Nora may not live to see kindergarten. Nora’s spine was already crushing her left lung.

The next week, Tonya brought Nora to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville where she was evaluated by orthopaedic spine surgeon, Pete Stasikelis, M.D. Nora was wearing her first in a series of Mehta casts a week later. A Mehta cast is a plaster cast that is applied from the collarbone to the bottom of the spine. When the cast is applied, pressure is placed on the cast causing the spine to straighten. When the cast hardens, it holds the spine in this position. Each cast progressively straightens the patient’s spine. In Nora’s case, her more than 60-degree curve has become less than a 10-degree curve in the Mehta cast. Nora wears each Mehta cast for two to three months, and then has a one week break before having the next cast put on. Nora’s mom says, “We love Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville and Dr. Pete! We can’t imagine life without them.”

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