Pediatric spine care
Our pediatric spine care specialists offer noninvasive and surgical treatment options for spine conditions that affect children. These include scoliosis and kyphosis, as well as birth complications like spina bifida and back injuries.
Pediatric spine specialists in Denver
Our team's expertise means we are ready for both routine and complex pediatric spine conditions.
Our orthopedists give your child gentle treatment in a kid-friendly manner at Rocky Mountain Pediatric OrthoONE, in Colorado's Rocky Mountain region. We believe a good relationship with you and your child is the foundation of their treatment.
Pediatric spine conditions we treat
Our board-certified, fellowship-trained spine specialists are leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of children's spinal conditions, including:
- Degenerative discs
- Flatback syndrome
- Herniated discs
- Sagittal malalignment
- Scheuermann's kyphosis
- Spinal fractures
- Spinal trauma
Our pediatric spine care program
We are dedicated to the treatment of spinal disorders in infants, children and adolescents. Our specialists focus exclusively on spine care, treating congenital, neuromuscular and idiopathic scoliosis, as well as other spinal conditions.
We offer a range of treatments, and we can determine what services are right for your child depending on the severity of their spine's curvature. Our Pediatric Spine Program consists of our board-certified pediatric spine surgeon, specialty-trained physician assistants, pediatric nurses and pediatric anesthesiologists. Our spine specialists are leaders in the treatment and management of scoliosis and strive to provide expert, compassionate care.
Types of scoliosis we treat
Scoliosis can occur in infants, children and teenagers and is defined as a sideways curve or twist in the spine. It can be related to specific reasons, such as a congenital malformation, but sometimes the cause is unknown.
We treat all types of scoliosis, including:
- Congenital scoliosis — This occurs in the first six weeks of pregnancy and is caused by malformation of the vertebrae.
- Infantile scoliosis — A type of juvenile scoliosis, it is first diagnosed in a child between birth and three years old.
- Juvenile scoliosis — Also called early onset scoliosis (EOS), juvenile scoliosis appears in children aged five years old and under.
- Adolescent scoliosis — Also called adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), this is defined as scoliosis that occurs after 10 years of age, but the cause is unknown (idiopathic).
Scoliosis treatments we offer
If your child has mild scoliosis, we begin with observing and monitoring the curve. For moderate curves, we may recommend bracing to straighten the spine and stop further curvature. Your child may also benefit from alternative treatments such as chiropractic medicine, physical therapy and yoga. These methods are only recommended to strengthen your child's core muscles and provide relief from symptoms, but they cannot be used as a primary treatment.
We recommend surgery if your child's curve is severe. The goal of surgical treatment is two-fold: to prevent curve progression and to obtain some curve correction. Surgical treatment today uses metal implants that are attached to the spine and then connected to one or two rods. Implants are used to adjust the spine and hold the spine in the corrected position until the segments with the metal implants fuse together as one bone.
Minimally invasive scoliosis treatment with vertebral body tethering (VBT)
Vertebral body tethering (VBT) is a minimally invasive treatment designed to correct the most common form of scoliosis — idiopathic scoliosis. VBT corrects spinal curvature by employing the power of your child’s own natural growth, which makes this procedure ideal for children ages 8-15 who are still growing.
Why choose VBT?
When surgical intervention is required for scoliosis, you may consider spinal fusion surgery. This procedure uses medical hardware and bone grafts to merge levels of the spine, stopping the growth of the spine and thus the scoliosis curvature. VBT has many benefits over this procedure. Here's why:
- Preserved mobility: VBT maintains spinal motion, enabling your child to participate actively in sports and activities.
- Quick recovery: Minimally invasive techniques often lead to shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times.
- Effective: VBT reduces scoliosis curvature.
- Safety: VBT minimizes neurologic complications, infections, and blood loss.
Is your child a candidate for VBT?
Candidates for VBT are typically:
- Still growing
- With a spinal curve of 35-65 degrees
- Diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis
- Unresponsive to bracing
- Aged 8-15
Explore your options
Even if your child's situation falls outside these criteria, we're here to help. We understand each case is unique, so let's discuss your child's needs.
Scoliosis second-opinion clinic
Unsure about treatment? Our second-opinion care provides clarity. Whether you're considering VBT or exploring alternatives, our experts offer insights tailored to your child's well-being. Contact us at (303) 861-2663 to start the conversation. Your child's scoliosis journey deserves the best.
EOS treatment using magnets
We offer the latest technology to help young patients suffering from severe early-onset scoliosis. Magnetically controlled growth rods (MCGR) are surgically implantable rods whose length we control with an external remote control (ERC). With this tool, our doctors can lengthen the rods in the office without sedation or surgery.
Posterior spinal fusion surgery
This surgical treatment uses metal implants that are attached to the spine and then connected to a single rod or two rods. Implants are used to correct the spine and hold it in the corrected position until the instrumented segments fuse together as one bone.
This procedure is usually performed from the back (posterior) of the spine. Following surgical treatment, no external bracing or casting is used. The hospital stay is generally between five and seven days. Your child can perform regular daily activities and often return to school in three to four weeks.
Posterior spinal fusion surgery is recommended if your child's curve is greater than 45 degrees while still growing, or is continuing to progress greater than 45 degrees after growth has stopped. The goals of spinal fusion treatment are to obtain some curve correction and prevent curve progression.
Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis care
The pars interarticularis — or simply pars — is a bone segment that connects two vertebrae. When the pars fractures, it is called spondylolysis or pars defect. Spondylolisthesis occurs when this fracture also causes the vertebra to slide forward. This fracture typically occurs in children due to an accident or a sports injury.
Nonsurgical options for spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis
Our physicians create a customized treatment plan based on the severity of your child's symptoms. Our goal is to decrease pain and acute spasms while restoring spinal flexibility.
Your child's nonsurgical care plan can include over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory drugs, activity modifications and pars or steroid injections. It will likely also include physical therapy, in which your child would focus on strengthening their truncal core to give their back the best support possible.
Surgery for spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis
A small number of children with spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis do not respond to a conservative treatment plan. If this is true for your child, they will be evaluated for spinal fusion surgery. This surgery typically involves fusing the fifth lumbar vertebra to the sacrum. We also provide other surgical options depending on your child's unique needs and medical history.
Pediatric spine disorders
Listen as Jaren Riley, MD, a pediatric spine specialist, talks about persistent back pain, a common condition he treats in young athletes.
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