Scoliosis in children can cause the spine to curve from side to side, like an "S" or a "C." Three out of 100 people have scoliosis, and the condition can be so mild that it doesn't affect a child’s life and requires no medical treatment. But scoliosis in children can still be an overwhelming and upsetting condition. We understand — that’s why we’ve devoted our careers to helping kids, like yours, achieve their dreams, whatever they might be.
Avid dancer Rachel soars through the air six months after her spinal fusion surgery for idiopathic scoliosis. (Photo by Keith Johnson)
All of us have a little curvature in our spines. We need a certain amount so we can balance, move and walk. However, scoliosis in children can be visible, causing the body to tilt to the left or right, and it may make kids feel uncomfortable (physically and emotionally). If a curve is severe, it can even affect breathing and heart function, and lead to damage in the joints of the spine and pain during adulthood. So sometimes, kids with scoliosis may need to wear a back brace or have surgery to correct the problem.
The types of scoliosis in children we treat include:
- Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: “Idiopathic” just means the cause of the condition is unknown, but it is most likely genetic.
- Congenital scoliosis: When a child is born with abnormally shaped vertebral bones that occurred in the mother’s womb during the baby’s development. As the baby grows, a curve may develop.
- Early onset scoliosis: Diagnosed in children less than 9 years old, even in infants (also sometimes called "infantile scoliosis" or "juvenile scoliosis").
- Neuromuscular scoliosis: Often happens in children with conditions like cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and muscular dystrophy, when the spine curves because weak muscles can’t support the spine bones.
- Syndromic scoliosis: When the condition is part of a syndrome like Marfan, neurofibromatosis, Prader-Willi, Friedreich’s ataxia, etc.
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- photo ID
- medical and pharmacy insurance cards
- preferred pharmacy name and phone number
- names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
- guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
A Full Range of Services for Treating Scoliosis
Our pediatric orthopedic spine surgeons at Nemours Children's Hospital have dedicated their careers to the treatment of scoliosis in children. We take the time to explain the diagnosis and treatment in terms you can understand, present all the alternatives, and invite your family’s input into the treatment plan for your child.
The Nemours Difference
Our collaborative approach to treating scoliosis in children offers the combined expertise of our team of pediatric experts from several different specialties.
We Offer a Full Range of Services
Our services for treating scoliosis in children include:
- genetic testing
- innovative bracing and nonsurgical methods
- advanced imaging of the spine and nervous system
- minimal bleeding scoliosis fusion surgery
- sophisticated neurological monitoring before, during and after surgery
Nemours is a national leader in non-operative treatments for scoliosis in children, often using special bracing techniques (including the Wilmington brace) to control curve progression. And our certified orthotists can often fabricate a custom brace for your child on the day it is prescribed by our doctors.
Your first trip to our pediatric orthopedic clinic, (located on the fifth floor of Nemours Children’s Hospital) is usually a comprehensive diagnostic visit. Please allow 1 to 2 hours for this visit, which may include:
- a thorough review of your child’s medical and family history
- a review of previous medical records and X-rays
- a detailed physical examination, including many measurements
- an assessment of range of joint motions and the relative length of the limb segments
Often, we can give you a specific diagnosis in this initial evaluation. But some conditions can take time to diagnose, so we may need to do further evaluation before we can pinpoint the problem. Once we’ve made a specific diagnosis, we’ll tailor the treatment and management strategies to meet the needs of your child and your family.
In addition to medical care and specialist referrals, we’ll make sure your child gets emotional and psychological support to help cope with and manage the condition or injury as well as genetic counseling, therapy, and rehabilitation services if needed.
A Hospital Designed by Families, for Families
At Nemours Children’s Hospital, family-centered care is at the heart of everything we do. In fact, families helped shape the unique amenities and convenient services that make our hospital like no other in the region.
You’ll feel right at home in our patient's rooms designed with input from families who know what it’s like to have a child in the hospital.
Our large, comfortable, single-patient rooms have sleeping accommodations for two parents, a private bathroom, wireless internet access, connections for DVD players and game systems, and two flat-screen TVs.
Other in-room features include:
- full floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light
- refrigerator for family meals and snacks
- wardrobe storage for personal items and a hotel-style safe
- GetWellNetwork interactive television (uniquely based on your child’s age, medical condition and more) and allows your child to watch TV, surf the Web, check e-mail, play music and games, and learn about your Nemours health care team.
Our “hospital within a garden” setting features many places for you and your family to go for fresh air and relaxation, including a one-acre interactive sensory discovery garden or one of our rooftop gardens on the second and fourth floors.
We have many more comforts and amenities such as:
- complimentary valet and parking
- kid-friendly commons areas for siblings
- café and coffee shop
- nondenominational chapel
If your child needs medical imaging, we offer some of the area’s most advanced pediatric radiology services here on campus at Nemours
Our unique services include:
- interventional radiology: Our team of experts uses image guidance to diagnose and treat diseases and tumors throughout the body. Certain conditions that previously required open surgery can now be treated by Nemours pediatric interventional radiologists. Nemours also offers the only dual-trained pediatric diagnostic and interventional radiologists in the state, including those based at Nemours Children's Hospital.
- neuroradiological or cardiovascular imaging, and fetal MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): Our subspecialty-trained pediatric radiologists see children with complex conditions who require this highly specialized imaging.
- Central Florida’s only 256-slice Brilliance iCT Scanner: We are one of only a handful of children’s hospitals in the country to have this latest generation CAT (or CT) scanner that scans faster than most machines and produces excellent images in a much shorter time with much less radiation exposure for the child.
Our team of board-certified pediatric radiologists and pediatric radiologic technologists are experts in the safe medical imaging of children of every age, even newborns.
We have also pledged our commitment to the “Image Gently” campaign of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, which is increasing awareness of the opportunities to promote radiation protection in the imaging of children.
At Nemours, we want to hear your concerns and share with you everything we can about your child's condition and treatment. If English is not your first language, we'll make sure you understand what to expect — in your language.
Connecting With Your Child's Primary Care Physician
We believe that one of the best ways to advance medicine to benefit children is through collaboration. We work closely with physicians in the community to triage their cases, offer expert diagnostics, and help to send patients to the right place for treatment.
NemoursOne, our electronic health record (EHR) is a secure, online environment that connects all phases of care for a child — inpatient, outpatient, at home, and at the referring physician's office. Using a special physician portal, primary care and referring physicians can securely access information about the care provided by our Nemours medical team and monitor a child’s progress any time, day or night.