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Staying Ahead of the Curve in Scoliosis Research

jacob with his xray

Patient Jacob shows his X-ray before treatment. Kids like Jacob help us study the impact of complex scoliosis.

Shriners Children’s Philadelphia offers a complete scoliosis care program. From regular screenings to surgery, we provide scoliosis care to patients worldwide. The hospital is home to world-class spine specialists capable of treating any pediatric spine condition. They all work daily to educate patients and families on early detection, surgical and non-surgical treatment options, and even the importance of participating in research studies during and after treatment.

“Early screening and intervention, in conjunction with participating in research, is the best way to help improve treatment outcomes for both current patients and patients in the future,” said Solomon Praveen Samuel, Ph.D., director of clinical research.

As pioneers in pediatric scoliosis research, Shriners Children’s Philadelphia is at the forefront of advancements aimed at improving the lives of young patients affected by this condition. June is Scoliosis Awareness Month, and our research team wanted to shed some light on the groundbreaking studies being conducted now and throughout the year.

Our contributions to the largest pediatric scoliosis registries in the world (the HARMS study group, Pediatric Spine Study Group, and the Fox Study Group) have enabled us to study long-term treatment outcomes for patients having undergone everything from casting to growth modulation to fusion surgery. As one of the primary innovators of vertebral body tethering, ongoing studies are underway to help us understand its impact on our patients. Our history in scoliosis care allows us to study the impact of complex scoliosis as well as the outcomes in patients with severe scoliosis who underwent halo-gravity traction, vertebral column resections, or had revision surgery.

Many of our scoliosis patients participate in worldwide registries that track long-term surgical treatment outcomes well into adulthood. Former patients who have consented to be part of one of these long-term registries in the past 25 years but have not been seen recently can still participate by calling us at 215-430-4081 to schedule a follow-up research visit.

Shriners Children’s Philadelphia also participates in a network-wide genome initiative with the goal of identifying genetic causes of various conditions, including scoliosis. Such a monumental discovery would bring screening and treatment to the next level and allow us to intervene as early as possible.

During 2022-23, we have seen more than 3,000 scoliosis patients and performed over 400 spine procedures.

“We will continue to use our research to spread awareness and transform the lives of young individuals affected by scoliosis,” said Dr. Samuel. “Together, we will pave the way for a brighter and more hopeful future for those living with this condition.”

trinity and dr payhs

Patient Trinity is being examined by Dr. Payhs after vertebral body tethering surgery.

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