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Our Comprehensive Care

Spine and Scoliosis Center at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware

1600 Rockland Road, Wilmington, DE 19803 | Get Map & Directions »

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.

Nonsurgical Care

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:

Some scoliosis patients need to wear a back brace under their clothes, where it can't be seen.

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?

Wilmington Brace

Designed here first, now used all over the world

Here at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware, 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. We were the first pediatric hospital in the Philadelphia and Delaware Valley areas to offer this radiation-sparing advanced equipment that is significantly safer for children who require repetitive X-rays.

Our Surgical Expertise

Our Surgical Expertise

Rachel shows off her flexibility six months after spinal surgery

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.*

Highlights of Our Comprehensive Spinal Deformity Care
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
Advanced Spinal Fusion Expertise

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. Read the Story »

MAGEC Technology: A First in Spinal Surgery

What's MAGEC Technology?

Children with early onset scoliosis who receive rods to help straighten their spines often need repeated surgeries to adjust the rods to help lengthen and straighten their spines. Many of these children need surgery every six months, and some even need more than 25 surgeries when all is said and done.

We’re pleased to offer a new technology that helps change all of that. Using titanium rods with technology called “MAGnetic Expansion Control” (or “MAGEC”), our orthopedic physicians can make adjustments in the office when needed simply by using a specialized external controller, without repeated surgeries. This external remote magnetically controls the rods and causes them to elongate as directed by our doctors. The rods can be extended more than 200 percent in length. Best of all, kids can avoid any complications connected with surgery, including pain. In fact, when the device is used to elongate the rods, it doesn’t hurt — it feels like a minor muscle twitch.

Who's a Candidate for MAGEC?

MAGEC rods are for use in patients with a specific type of scoliosis called “early onset scoliosis.” (These children develop curvatures of the spine earlier in life, often as young as 3 to 7 years of age.) Only children under the age of 10 with severe spinal curvatures from early onset scoliosis are considered candidates for this particular technology.

Children who have surgery using MAGEC technology can enjoy a greatly improved quality of life — in both the short and long terms. By staying out of the hospital and away from surgery, they can have less interruption in their lives, spend more time with their family, and continue to do what they love.*

View MAGEC™ Device and MCGR Procedure - Suken Shah, MD »

* Each child’s surgery is different, and some patients may not be able to perform complex movements or participate in all sporting activities after their procedure. Discuss with your doctor what activities may or may not be permitted after your individual procedure.