Scoliosis Treatment

Scoliosis Treatment

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Many young people live with scoliosis and don't need aggressive treatment because their spine curvature is mild or doesn't cause serious back pain. However, an evaluation and treatment become necessary when postural abnormalities, pain, or breathing problems develop. Duke pediatric spine surgeons offer the full range of nonsurgical options and the latest advances in growth-friendly spine surgeries, including vertebral body tethering. We tailor our treatment recommendations to your child's unique anatomy and health needs.

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Meet our pediatric spine surgeons and scoliosis specialists, view their profiles, and select the one that’s right for your child.
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Diagnosing Scoliosis in Children and Adolescents

Our pediatric spine surgeons use a variety of tests to diagnose scoliosis. Your child's evaluation may include a type of X-ray called EOS imaging that significantly reduces radiation exposure. The different types of scoliosis include:

Neuromuscular Scoliosis
A spinal deformity occurring in children with neuromuscular diseases such as cerebral palsy

Congenital Scoliosis
An abnormality of the vertebra present at birth

Early-onset Scoliosis
Refers to a side-to-side curve diagnosed before age 1

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis
Refers to a side-to-side curve diagnosed after age 10

Our Locations
Duke Health offers scoliosis treatment at clinics in Durham, Raleigh, and throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Nonsurgical Options for Scoliosis

Epidural Steroid Injections

Treat inflammation and pain right at the source, and may be used to manage lower back or leg pain caused by scoliosis. We give these injections in a special suite. Your child may see their doctor and receive their epidural steroid injection on the same day.

Physical Therapy

Exercises can be an effective nonsurgical option if scoliosis has not caused severe curving of the spine. Physical therapy can strengthen your child's spine and improve their balance and flexibility, which helps minimize pain and avoid injury. Your child's spine doctor may direct their physical therapy program by recommending the best exercises, or we can refer your child to a physical therapist.


Can be a very effective scoliosis treatment in young children and teens.


Sometimes a cast can be put around the chest to help correct scoliosis in very young patients, including infants.

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Scoliosis Surgery Options

Posterior or Anterior Spinal Fusion

Corrects severe scoliosis by first straightening, then fusing together the vertebrae in the back to prevent scoliosis from worsening.

Spine Osteotomies

Corrects the most severe cases of scoliosis or kyphosis by cutting or sometimes removing some of the bone in the spine.

Complex Spinal Reconstruction

This advanced procedure corrects abnormal spine curvatures by stabilizing the spine with rods and pins and fusing together the vertebrae.

Anterior Vertebral Body Tethering

This new procedure may prevent the need for spinal fusion in young people with severe scoliosis by utilizing the remainder of growth to help correct the curve.

Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib

The placement of expandable spinal implants that allow the spine to grow.

MAGEC Growing Rods

The MAGEC (MAGnetic Expansion Control) rod may be an option for children who develop spinal deformity early and may require multiple surgeries as they grow. Unlike traditional expandable spinal implants that must be surgically lengthened every six months, the MAGEC device is lengthened using a magnetic motor placed on the child’s back. The noninvasive outpatient procedure is repeated every three months for about three years.

Shilla Growth Procedure

The placement of partially affixed rods to guide and correct spinal growth.

Why Choose Duke

Advanced Training and Experience
Our pediatric spine surgeons have completed advanced training and are experienced in diagnosing and treating many different types of scoliosis.

Low-Radiation EOS Imaging System
Duke uses the EOS imaging system, which exposes your child to the least amount of radiation possible.

The Latest Surgical Techniques
Our skilled pediatric spine surgeons regularly perform complex reconstruction surgeries using the latest technology in intraoperative imaging. This allows us to perform scoliosis surgery with added precision.

A Team of Pediatric Experts
In addition to pediatric spine surgeons, your child's surgical team will include pediatric anesthesiologists, specialists in neurology and pulmonology, and many others. We have a dedicated pediatric intensive care unit that caters exclusively to children, and a support staff to help them recover and rehabilitate quickly and safely.

Committed to Advancing Scoliosis Care
As members of the Scoliosis Research Society, our pediatric spine surgeons are up-to-date on the latest scientific findings and treatment options. We can also offer your child the opportunity to participate in clinical trials, which are currently exploring ways to improve mobility and shorten recovery time following surgery.

Best Children's Hospital in NC
In addition to being among the best in the country, Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in nine pediatric specialties.
Reviewed: 02/16/2018