Scoliosis is a common spinal deformity that is found in many elementary age children and is often first diagnosed by a child’s school nurse or pediatrician. Early signs include uneven shoulders or a prominence in the spine when a child is bent over. If you suspect your child might have Scoliosis it is important to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician. Depending on the diagnosis your child may be referred to a pediatric orthopedic specialist.

What will happen to my child? Is there a cure?

If found, and treated early on, with proper bracing and treatment, the curve of the spine can be limited and have a minimal effect on your child’s everyday activities.

There isn’t a cure for scoliosis and there aren’t any clear identifying causes. If your child is diagnosed, it’s important to remember that this is a manageable disease. With the right treatment, your child will be back to everyday activities. The goal of the Orthopedic Center at Miller Children’s & Women’s is to avoid progression of the curve as your child grows and to improve your child’s quality of life.

In cases where the curve is less prominent, bracing is often prescribed by your child’s orthopedic specialist. Bracing can be an effective way to minimize and combat the growth of the curve in your child, and although it may take your child some time getting used to the brace, its important your child wears the brace for the recommended amount of hours your specialist recommends.

When is surgery required? Should I be worried?

In some serious cases, surgery may be required. For operations like these, Child Life Specialists at Miller Children’s & Women’s are brought in to prepare and guide the patient and family through the surgery and recovery process. Families should expect at least a one-night stay in the Cherese Mari Lauhlhere Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and typically three to five days in the hospital post-surgery.

For younger patients, Miller Children’s & Women’s is one of the only hospitals in the region to specialize in “magnetic growing rods” to stop the progression of scoliosis. After an implantation surgery, the rods are lengthened during follow-up visits using an external magnet, saving the child from having as many as nine to 10 additional surgeries.

Post-surgery, the goal of the orthopedic team is to get your child standing and moving around as soon as possible. Within six months, your child should be back to everyday activities, including sports. In some cases, braces may be required as your child grows.

The Orthopedic Center at Miller Children’s & Women’s has a team of board-certified pediatric orthopedic surgeons who specialize in children’s bones and growth — trained in the latest innovative and minimally invasive treatment and surgery options.