We pride ourselves in offering family-centered care. That means we welcome your involvement in every step of your child’s diagnosis and treatment. And we recognize the importance of your role in the care and healing process — we consider you a crucial part of our care team.
Dr. Peter Gabos and physician assistants Theresa Kudlick and Melanie Uebele discuss a spine scan.
Nonsurgical Spine Care & Services
In addition to top-rate surgical care (spinal fusions, spondylolisthesis surgery, etc.), we offer a wide array of nonsurgical care and services for children with spinal deformities that includes:
Kids with spinal deformities, like scoliosis, often need to wear a back brace, which fits right under the clothes without anyone even knowing it's there. Can you tell which picture she's wearing the brace in?
Designed here first, now used all over the world
Here at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE, 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.
Certified orthotists on-site
These specialists fit and fabricate supports and scoliosis braces for children that can often be custom-made on the same day they’re prescribed.
Nobel Prize-winning Radiography Technology
It's ultra-low-dose and offers a digital 3-D view of the spine. Used for scoliosis in children, this type of imaging (radiology) test provides significantly less radiation than conventional X-rays and CT scans. It's ideal for kids who need frequent X-rays because it limits radiation over a lifetime and helps our surgeons see the spine in better detail. And you won't find this advanced equipment at any other hospitals in the area.
Groundbreaking saliva-based genetic testing for kids with scoliosis
Our Spine and Scoliosis Center experts participated in innovative research that led to a test called, “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.
Our Surgical Expertise
Rachel shows off her flexibility six months after her spinal fusion surgery for idiopathic scoliosis.
Not every child who has a spinal deformity will need an operation. We offer lots of nonsurgical options (from physical therapy to scoliosis braces) to help kids do the things they need and want to do without having to go through surgery.
But if your child does need an operation, you can rest assured that you’re getting the very best care from some of the best surgeons in spinal care.
At the Spine and Scoliosis Center, we’re a regional leader in reducing infection and complications rates after surgery, repeat operations, and the length of stay in the hospital. All of that often means a faster recovery, less pain and discomfort for your child, less worry for you — and getting your child back to life, school, and activities as soon as possible.
As experts in spinal deformity care, you can feel good knowing that we offer:
- State-of-the-art operating rooms with intraoperative imaging
(radiology tests during the operation that allow our surgeons to see inside the body), LED lighting, and high-definition cameras — all of which give our surgeons the best possible visibility
- Advanced surgical techniques to fix and stabilize spinal deformities
(like spondylolisthesis, kyphosis, and scoliosis in children)
- Minimally invasive surgery, which corrects curvatures, while reducing the risks of injury and infection (and helps get your child back home faster)
- Blood conservation during surgery (using a variety of ways to save blood before and during the procedure)
- Patient and family teaching before every surgery
- Support and rehabilitation after surgery
- Contemporary wound and scar management, using plastic surgery techniques to help kids heal and feel better about themselves and their bodies
- Advanced pain management to keep children's discomfort and side effects to a minimum
- Excellent surgical outcomes (that is, the results of our care)
What's a Spinal Fusion?
Some children and teens who need surgery to correct their spinal deformities may get an operation called a “spinal fusion” (sometimes referred to as a “spine fusion”). The surgeon uses metal rods and screws to make the separate bones of the spine (where the curve exists) grow in a straighter position — into one solid piece of bone.
A spinal fusion can help:
- make the spine curvature less severe
(so that a child can sit upright and more comfortably)
- ensure that the curvature doesn’t affect breathing
Advanced Surgery for Scoliosis in Children
We’re also one of only a few hospitals nationwide offering an advanced scoliosis surgery technique for children called, “video-assisted thoracoscopic anterior spine fusion” (or VATS, for short). (“Thoracoscopic,” pronounced thor-a-ko-scah-pick, means “inside the chest.”)
This kind of minimally invasive surgery uses smaller incisions (cuts in the skin), causes less scarring, and means a shorter hospital stay for kids with scoliosis than traditional spinal surgery.
Dr. Shah made an appearance on “Good Morning America” to discuss this cutting-edge procedure. Go to Story »