Leaders in Spinal Deformity Care
The physicians at Shriners Children's remain world-leading in the techniques, procedures, and training they provide for spinal deformities. Our teams have created new patents for products like The Tether™ for scoliosis treatments. They are also leaders in new diagnostic and analysis tools through our Motion Analysis program.
Spinal deformities are an abnormal curvature of the spine that can be present at birth, develop in early childhood, or show up during adolescence. Some deformities are caused when the spine does not develop properly during pregnancy. While others like, idiopathic scoliosis, have no known cause.
At Shriners Children's, our focus is on detecting spine problems early and treating the needs of each child individually. Our spine teams take a comprehensive approach to pediatric conditions like scoliosis, kyphosis, lordosis, and chest wall deformities.
Specific treatments and services may vary by location. Please contact a specific location for more information.
Common Signs and Symptoms
- Back pain
- Uneven shoulder heights
- Uneven shoulder blades
- Tilted pelvis
- Walking difficulties
- Breathing difficulties
- Hunched back
When signs of a deformity become more obvious, diagnostic methods such as X-Rays using our advanced EOS imaging system, MRIs, and CT scans can be used to find out how severe the deformity is. Many spine conditions can share the same symptoms, so extra care is taken by our physicians to get the diagnosis right.
Our physicians work with your child to create the right course of treatment for their age, severity of deformity, and location of the curve. There are less invasive nonsurgical options available to those in the right stage of growth. But even if surgery is recommended to help your child's condition, Shriners Children's offers innovative techniques for both fusion and nonfusion treatments.
Physical therapy, serial casting, and bracing might be an option to help stop the progression of their curve. Therapy can include scoliosis specific exercises that help minimize curve progression. Our therapists also help educate a patient about their specific curve type. Bracing can also help stop the progression of a curve, but can be more involved because wearing the brace as directed is vital to the success of the treatment.
Shriners Children's innovative surgeries may be recommended for your child, depending on the severity of deformity and stage of growth. Spinal surgery can allow your child to get back to the things they love doing and help manage spine related pain. Below are some of the surgical treatments that Shriners Children's offers for your child's spine condition.
- Anterior Vertebral Body Tethering (AVBT) uses a strong, flexible cord that gently pulls on the outside of a scoliosis curve to straighten the spine. A screw is placed in each vertebra of the curve and then attached to the flexible cord with the spine in a straighter position.
- Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium rib (VEPTR or titanium rib) is a 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.
- Growing Rods allow for continued and controlled spine growth. This is performed as a surgical procedure where the rods are attached to the spine above and below the curve with screws. The growing rods are lengthened under anesthesia every four to six months, depending on how the curvature of the spine is changing.
- MAGnetic Expansion Control (MAGEC) Spinal Bracing and Distraction System rods could be recommended for younger children with less severe curves. With MAGEC rods, a single surgery is done at the beginning, but the noninvasive lengthening process eliminates the need for repeated surgeries.
- Spinal Fusion Surgery is recommended to correct a curve or stop it from progressing. Fusion could be recommended for a child if they are still growing and their curve is more severe, or if they have stopped growing and the spine needs stabilized.
I know I wouldn't be where I am right now without Shriners Children's. Now I'm back doing the activities I love without limitations. Shriners gave me my freedom back!