Advanced Treatment Options for Young Scoliosis Patients

University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, offers a variety of advanced surgical and non-surgical options to treat scoliosis in children and adolescents. Depending on the type of scoliosis, the progression of the spinal curvature, and the age of the patient, our team can evaluate each individual child and develop a treatment plan specific to that child’s needs.

Treatment options may include:

  • Non-surgical bracing
  • HemiBridge™ System, in which a small device is inserted to correct curvature without the use of a brace
  • Spinal fusion and spinal osteotomy
  • Growing rods (for younger children who are still growing), including less invasive magnetic rods and guided growth systems
  • Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS)

Growing Rods Offer Multiple Advantages for Young Patients

Growing rods can be used to treat very young patients with a severe spinal deformity. This technique is successful because it allows the spine and lungs to continue growing as the child grows. Unlike traditional casting and halo traction, growing rods enable pediatric patients to integrate easily into school and their social environment.

The procedure involves inserting one or two rods under the back muscles and attached above and below the spine’s curve. They are adjusted about every nine months to enable growth, although newer systems grow with the child and do not require frequent returns to the operating room. The pediatric orthopedic surgeons at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital are among the most experienced in the country in growing rod procedures.

New Devices Decrease Need for Repeat Surgeries

The pediatric orthopedic team also offer two new surgical options for younger kids with early-onset scoliosis, which can help decrease the need for repeat surgeries among still-growing children.

The Shilla™ growth guidance system uses a special non-locking screw at the top and bottom of the growing rod, correcting the spine curvature by screws that slide along the rod as the child’s spine grows.

The other new option, MAGEC®, uses a magnetic device inside the growing rod, which can be expanded painlessly via an external remote control.

The Shilla and MAGEC devices were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2014 and are both being used by the orthopedic experts at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

VATS Procedure Speeds Healing

Our orthopedic surgeons are often able to use a minimally invasive procedure known as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) to treat spinal deformities. UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital is the only center in Northeast Ohio that offers VATS for patients with a spinal deformity. The resulting benefits of the technique include less pain and faster healing

Our surgeons also offer spinal osteotomy procedures as part of a spinal fusion to increase the spine’s flexibility. UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital is one of a limited number of specialized centers in Ohio that performs this procedure regularly in children.