Congenital Scoliosis | Boston Children’s Hospital

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  • 1-617-355-6021
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Patients come here from around the world for their scoliosis treatment. We're happy to be able to provide world-class care for them and for our local patients.

Spinal Program Team, Orthopedic Center

If your child has been diagnosed with congenital scoliosis, we know that you and your family are under stress and may be dealing with other conditions associated with your child’s scoliosis. So, at Boston Children’s Hospital, we’ll approach your child’s treatment with sensitivity and support—for your child and your whole family. And it will be our constant goal to maximize your child’s quality of life.

You can have peace of mind knowing that our team in the Boston Children’s Spinal Program has treated many children with spinal problems—some of which are so rare that few pediatric doctors have ever come across them—so we can provide your child with expert diagnosis, treatment and care, regardless of how complex his condition may be.

About scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine—in addition to the normal front to back curvature—has an abnormal side-to-side “S-” or “C”-shaped curvature. The spine is also rotated or twisted, pulling the ribs along with it to form a multidimensional curve.

Scoliosis occurs, and is treated, as three main types:

   •    congenital scoliosis: present at birth, caused by a failure of the vertebrae to form normally—the least
        common form
   •    neuromuscular scoliosis: associated with a neuromuscular condition such as cerebral palsy, myopathy
        or spina bifida  
   •    idiopathic scoliosis: occurring with no definite cause

About congenital scoliosis

Congenital scoliosis is the type that developed because your child’s spine didn’t form correctly in utero. Some of the vertebrae (vertebral segments) in his spine formed abnormally (failure of formation), didn’t separate correctly (failure of segmentation) or there was some combination of both. As a result, his spine has a side-to-side curvature that has a 75 percent chance of progressing (worsening) if not treated surgically.

Because the spine forms at the same time as certain other organ systems in the first six weeks of pregnancy, more than half of affected children have one or more other improperly formed systems. This means that your child’s genitourinary, cardiac, auditory, nervous (neurological, neural) or renal system(s) may also have formed incorrectly or incompletely. Additional problems of the spine or spinal cord can also be associated with congenital scoliosis.

The Boston Children's Hospital approach

Boston Children’s Spinal Program is known for clinical innovation, research and leadership. We’ll provide your child with the most advanced diagnostics and treatments—several of which were developed by our own researchers and clinicians.

As one of the first comprehensive programs, Boston Children’s Orthopedic Center is the largest and most experienced pediatric orthopedic surgery center in the United States, performing more than 6,000 surgical procedures each year. Our program—ranked among the top programs by U.S.News & World Report—is the nation’s preeminent care center for children and young adults with congenital, neuromuscular, developmental and post-traumatic problems of the musculoskeletal system.

Some of our team’s unique accomplishments include our:

   •    development of the Boston Brace, a custom bracing system widely used throughout the United States and Europe
   •    unique experience in the treatment of adolescent hip conditions
   •    success with the VEPTR(vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib) procedure: In 1998, Children’s was selected
        as a site for the first extensive VEPTR use outside San Antonio, where it was developed. Boston Children’s has the
        second most extensive VEPTR experience in the nation.
   •    experience with, and emphasis on, treating infantile (early-onset) scoliosis  
   •    experience with, and research in, brachial plexus birth palsy, including our international, multi-center study of this
        complex condition
   •    Sports Medicine Program, including its pioneering research into the regeneration of ACL tissue and growth
        plate-sparing surgeries for ACL repair in pre-adolescents
   •    extensive orthopedic research laboratories
   •    Orthopedic Clinical Effectiveness Research Center for the study of children’s musculoskeletal disorders

Each year, our Spinal Program caregivers provide comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis, consultation, treatment and follow-up care for children during more than 6,000 outpatient visits. And every year, our orthopedic surgeons perform more than 300 spine procedures.

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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