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Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago visitor information – Updates

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Scoliosis and spine care

Scoliosis and spine care

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago offers an extensive spinal deformity program. Treatment for a spinal condition, including scoliosis in children, varies depending on the cause of the disorder and progression of the spinal curve.

The medical staff includes board-certified pediatric orthopaedic surgeons who practice with a team approach in a family-centered environment. We offer on-site rehabilitation care and our children's hospital was the first in Illinois to offer the lower dose EOS X-ray system for imaging studies. We specialize in the following treatment options:


Bracing is the best non-surgical treatment for most kinds of scoliosis. Braces are customized to meet the needs of the patient.

Serial or Mehta-Cotrel casting

For infants and children with idiopathic infantile scoliosis, syndromes, connective tissue disorders, or chromosomal abnormalities that lead to the development of scoliosis. Doctors mold the infant or child with a series of corrective casts to de-rotate the spine. In select patients, it is possible to obtain a complete correction. The Chicago Shriners Hospital has been utilizing Mehta-Cotrel casting for infantile scoliosis for more than 15 years, with the average age at first cast of 18 months old.

Listen to our podcasts on scoliosis and spinal deformity:


Growing rods

Scaled down versions of conventional spinal instrumentation are used to control curvatures in growing children too young to undergo spinal fusion surgery.

The MAGEC System

A surgically implanted magnetic rod braces the spine through growth to minimize curve progression. The rod can be lengthened without a surgical procedure using a magnet device.

MAGEC in-office lengthening video:

The VEPTR system

The vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR) system uses titanium rods and expandable sleeves attached to the ribs, spine or pelvis.

Spinal fusion

A surgical procedure that involves fusing the vertebrae to straighten the spine and implanting corrective rods which help align the shoulders and hips.

Scoliosis-specific exercises based on the works of Katharina Schroth

3D treatment of scoliosis in a physical therapy program which consists of exercises, stretching and breathing, and may be beneficial for select patients.

Scoliosis and spine care conditions treated include:

Spinal deformity and neurosurgery

  • Infantile scoliosis, syndromic scoliosis
  • Juvenile/adolescent idiopathic, neuromuscular and congenital scoliosis
  • Scheuermann’s kyphosis, kyphosis
  • Skeletal dysplasias

Collaborative approach to care

Our Chicago Shriners Hospital’s pediatric orthopaedic staff works collaboratively with primary care physicians, parents and the patient to develop comprehensive treatment plans that meet the individual needs of each patient. Through innovative pediatric care, we instill confidence and teach patients that there are no limits to what they can do. Regardless of your child’s medical condition or needs, you can expect to benefit from the expertise of a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the needs of your child. Our hospital helps ensure patients receive an optimal outcome by providing all aspects of inpatient and outpatient pediatric orthopaedic care, including surgery, on-site rehabilitation, treatment and psychological support.

The medical team

Kim Hammerberg, M.D., Chief, Spine Surgery
Purnendu Gupta, M.D., Chief of Staff, Spine Surgeon
Michal Szczodry, M.D., Spine Surgeon