After years of struggling to find an answer to why their daughter Lily’s scoliosis was not getting better through various treatments, Tracy and Michael Douglas began to look for a specialist. Ten-year-old Lily had recently endured a growth spurt, which put her spine curve at over 120 degrees.
A friend whose daughter was a patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis showed the Douglas family her X-rays from before and after treatment in halo gravity traction and recommended the hospital as one of the best for scoliosis treatment. When Lily had her first appointment with now Chief of Staff Scott Luhmann, M.D., in August 2016, he suggested about eight weeks of halo traction leading up to a spine surgery. Lily went into surgery to have the halo device attached the last week of November 2016. The halo has six pins that are attached to Lily’s skull to help distribute the weight of the traction evenly. The halo device connects to a walker that has weights attached on a pulley to help straighten her spine as much as possible before surgery. In less than two months, the halo traction straightened Lily’s spine more than 20 degrees.
After spending time in halo traction, Lily had spine surgery to have her spine fused and straightening rods inserted.
Scoliosis can be hereditary, and Lily has a history on her maternal side. Her mother and other family members have scoliosis, but none have as severe of a case as Lily’s. She also has kyphosis, which is a rounding of the back that also contributes to spine curvature.
Despite staying in the hospital for eight weeks, the Douglas family was happy with Lily’s progress. They are very impressed with Dr. Luhmann. “We really like Dr. Luhmann and would recommend him to anyone in our same situation,” said Tracy. “Shriners was the best option for us.”