At Nemours, we promise to do whatever it takes to treat children as we would our own. When your child comes to Nemours, we know you’re placing your trust in us. This trust and our dedication to improving the health of your child is what inspires us to provide exceptional care and the most satisfying experience possible.
Stories: Patients and families share their experiences.
- Limb Length Discrepancy: Alex
- Orthopedics: Joey
- Scoliosis: Samantha
- Spondylo-Epiphyseal Dysplasia: Mackenzie
Patient Satisfaction: See what families say about our care.
News & Recognition
- Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware Donates $500,000
- Mackenzie, MD Invested as First Endowed Chair of Orthopaedics
- Swank Foundation Makes Million Dollar Gift to Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
- U.S. News & World Report 2011-2012
See What We're Doing in Research for Pediatric Orthopedics
Research at Nemours improves the health and health care of all children. By seeking new approaches to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of childhood diseases and educating the next generation of leaders in the fields of children’s and public health, Nemours is making a difference today and establishing the opportunities to make a difference well into the future.
Our research program continues to grow in size and scope. Clinical questions continue to drive our efforts — and our advancing research capability is a critical benefit to the well-being of all the children we see.
We’re actively engaged in research to better understand and develop new treatments for all kinds of conditions related to pediatric orthopedics — from osteogenesis imperfecta to bone tumors, gait problems to sports injuries, cerebral palsy to spinal deformities.
Our Center for Orthopedics Research and Development (or CORD) works closely with the Department of Orthopedics to develop devices and methods that directly impact children with musculoskeletal and orthopedic disabilities. In addition, CORD works closely with the Gait Analysis Laboratory, created in 1993 to provide the medical community with state-of-the art, computer assisted motion analysis of the complex gait cycle.
CORD also collaborates with regional academic institutions including Drexel University, the University of Delaware, and the University of Pennsylvania to conduct comprehensive research that pools our collective resources and expertise.
Our Pediatric Engineering Research Lab (PERL)
The efforts of the Center for Orthopedics Research and Development are focused within our Pediatric Engineering Research Laboratory (or PERL, for short) at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE. Here, we research devices and therapies that will assist and rehabilitate children with neuromuscular disabilities and orthopedic disorders such as muscular dystrophy (MD), spinal muscular atrophy, scoliosis, arthrogryposis, spinal cord injury, and leg length discrepancies.
Our staff of biomedical engineers and students works with various clinicians to conceive and develop engineering solutions to medical problems. In affiliation with Drexel University and the University of Delaware, PERL also collaborates with a number of companies to manufacture and market devices conceived and developed at PERL to children here at duPont Hospital for Children and well beyond our doors.
Kids with neuromuscular disease often have difficulty moving their arms and performing activities of daily living because of muscle weakness. One ongoing Nemours research project addresses these concerns through the development of the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (or WREX, for short) — an arm orthosis that helps children with very little residual strength to move their arms in three-dimensional space in front of them.
WREX is mainly intended for children with muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, and arthrogryposis (when the distal muscles are less affected and sensation remains intact). The device, tailored to each child, allows full passive range of motion of the arm and provides a sense of flotation that helps children voluntarily move their arms.
At duPont Hospital for Children, we developed a type of back brace that’s now used to treat scoliosis in kids everywhere. With the help of X-ray imaging, every Wilmington brace is created specifically to fit each patient. The brace is made of lightweight plastic, so it can be worn under clothes and isn't visible at all (which can mean the world to self-conscious kids and teens who want to blend in).
And because it's designed to be worn as much as possible (between 18 and 20 hours per day), each back brace comes with a one-of-a-kind “compliance monitor.” This electronic sensor device helps us and the kids we treat keep track of how often they’re wearing the brace — to make sure they’re getting the most out of it every day.
Our Spine and Scoliosis Center experts from duPont Hospital for Children also participated in innovative research that led to a test called the “ScoliScore Test,” which is used to figure out how mild or severe a patient’s scoliosis curve will be. All kids need to do is give a saliva sample (by spitting into a special container that comes with the ScoliScore kit). The saliva is then sent away to a lab for processing.
If the results show the child’s spinal curve is only mild, we may not need to do anything but observe the child over time. If the test shows the curve will be severe, we can focus our attention on the treatment options.