Many young people live with scoliosis and don't require aggressive treatment because their spine curvature is mild or does not 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.
Our pediatric spine surgeons have completed advanced training and are experienced diagnosing and treating many different types of scoliosis, including:
- 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, which refers to a side to side curve diagnosed before age 1
- Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis which refers to a side to side curve diagnosed after age 10
We use a variety of tests to diagnose scoliosis. Your child's evaluation may include a type of X-ray called EOS imaging. This new system, which is only available in North Carolina at Duke, exposes your child to the least amount of radiation possible.
If surgery is required, your child will be cared for by some of the most experienced pediatric spine surgeons in North Carolina. We regularly perform complex reconstruction surgeries using the latest technology in intraoperative imaging, which allows us to perform scoliosis surgery with precision. In addition to pediatric spine surgeons, your child's surgical team includes 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.
As members of the Scoliosis Research Society, our pediatric spine surgeons are up to date on the latest information available. We can also offer your child the opportunity to participate in clinical trials, which are currently exploring ways to improve mobility and recover faster following surgery.
SCOLIOSIS AND OTHER SPINAL ABNORMALITIES
Corrects severe scoliosis by first straightening, then fusing together the vertebrae in your back to prevent scoliosis from worsening.
Corrects the most severe cases of scoliosis or kyphosis by cutting or sometimes removing some of the bone in the spine.
This advanced procedure corrects abnormal spine curvatures by stabilizing your spine with rods and pins and fusing together the vertebra.
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.
Procedures may involve the placement of expandable spinal implants that allow the spine to grow.
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 non-invasive outpatient procedure is repeated every three months for about three years.
The placement of partially affixed rods to guide and correct spinal growth.
SCOLIOSIS AND OTHER SPINAL ABNORMALITIES
Treat inflammation and pain right at the source, and may be used to manage lower back or leg pain caused by scoliosis. We inject these treatments in a special suite. Your child may see their doctor and receive your epidural steroid injection on the same day.
Exercises can be an effective non-surgical option if scoliosis has not caused severe curving of the spine. Physical therapy can strengthen your child's spine, improve balance and flexibility, which help 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