Pediatric spine specialists in Denver

Our specialized teams have the orthopedic expertise you can trust to treat complex pediatric spine conditions.

If you are looking for experienced, gentle care for your child's spinal condition, the orthopedists at Rocky Mountain Pediatric OrthoONE, in Colorado's Rocky Mountain Region, provide high-quality treatments in a kid-friendly manner. We believe a patient-focused relationship should be the core of every interaction with your child.

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
  • Kyphosis
  • 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.

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Scoliosis care

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, non-fusion tethering surgery

Our highly trained pediatric spine surgeon was the first in the Rocky Mountain Region to offer vertebral body tethering (VBT), an innovative scoliosis treatment. This surgery is ideal for children and adolescents with severe scoliosis because it adjusts the spine, allowing it to continue to grow, but along a healthier path — all without the need of spinal fusion.

During this minimally invasive procedure, the surgeon creates small incisions to anchor titanium bone screws to the front of each vertebral bone within the curved area. A flexible cord (tether) is attached to each screw and tension is adjusted to create the proper degree. This allows for immediate improvement of the curvature, which continues to improve over time.

There are many benefits of VBT, including less hardware placed, faster recovery times and no need for a scoliosis brace or spinal fusion.

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 casts are 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 treatment

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 injections (steroid injection). 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.

Surgical treatment

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.