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.
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.