Scoliosis and spine care
From common idiopathic adolescent scoliosis to the most complex young spine deformities, we believe each child deserves an individualized treatment plan using the most advanced and innovative techniques.
- Idiopathic scoliosis, including infantile, juvenile and adolescent
- Congenital scoliosis
- Scoliosis with syndromes including:
- Klippel-Feil syndrome
- Neuromuscular scoliosis associated with:
- Spinal cord injury
- Cerebral palsy
- Kyphosis, including Scheuermann's
- Spondylosis and spondylolisthesis
- Curve progression after spine surgery
- Abnormal posture
- Hemivertebrae with fused or absent ribs
- Scoliosis after thoracotomy
Types of scoliosis:
- Infantile idiopathic scoliosis – occurs in children younger than age 3
- Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis – affects children between the ages of 3 and 10
- Idiopathic scoliosis – generally occurs in children after the age of 10; girls have a greater likelihood to develop idiopathic scoliosis
Signs of scoliosis
Scoliosis can be hereditary, and it is recommended that a child who has a parent or sibling diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis receive regular check-ups for early detection. Children and teens with scoliosis rarely exhibit symptoms, and sometimes the condition is not obvious until the curvature of the spine becomes severe. Sometimes you may notice that your child’s clothes are not fitting correctly or that hems are not hanging evenly. In some cases, your child’s spine may appear crooked or their ribs may protrude. Some markers to watch for in a child who has scoliosis are:
- One shoulder may appear higher than the other
- One shoulder blade may stick out farther than the other
- One hip may appear higher than the other
- Head is not properly centered over their body
- When bending from the waist, the ribs on one side are higher
- Waistline may appear flat on one side
Nonsurgical treatment options
Nonoperative treatment for idiopathic scoliosis:
- Can be effective in stopping the progression of the curve
- Schedule and type of brace will depend on the location and degree of curve
- Compliance with wearing the brace is vital to the success of bracing treatment
For infantile scoliosis when the curve is progressive:
- Requires cast changes under anesthesia every two to three months
- Casting straightens the spine through the continuous application of external force
- Casting, if started at a young age, can make the curve disappear in some children.
Expandable devices used in growing children with scoliosis:
- Vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR or titanium rib) – This is a titanium rod curved to fit the back of the chest and spine, and is designed to primarily be used for growing children with a chest wall deformity and thoracic insufficiency, helping to correct spinal deformity and allow for the development of the chest and lungs.
- Growing rods – Growing rods allow for continued and controlled spine growth. This is performed as a surgical procedure through the back where the rods are attached to the spine both above and below the curves with screws. The growing rods will need to be lengthened under anesthesia every four to six months, depending on the advancement of the curvature of the spine.
- MAGnetic expansion control (MAGEC) spinal bracing and distraction system – MAGEC rods are another form of growing spine construct for young children. With MAGEC rods, a surgical procedure for implantation is required, but the noninvasive lengthening procedure eliminates the need for repeated lengthening surgeries. The MAGEC System is composed of two magnetic, telescoping rods that can be gradually lengthened from outside the skin after initial implantation. This procedure uses an external remote controller in the outpatient department every three months.
Spinal fusion surgery
Spinal fusion surgery is recommended to correct a curve or stop it from progressing when the patient is still growing and has a curve that is greater than 50 degrees. Rods and screws are attached to the curved part of the backbone and the spine is straightened. Small pieces of bone graft are then put over the spine. This will grow together with the spinal bone, fusing it into the proper position. A spinal fusion helps prevent progression to severe deformity.