Treatments & Procedures

Complete Care for Scoliosis in Children of All Ages

The Scoliosis Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital offers the full range of nonoperative and surgical treatments for:

  • Infantile idiopathic scoliosis, which occurs before the age of 3 and is seen more frequently in boys than girls.
  • Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, which occurs between the ages of 3 and 9.
  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, the most common type, which occurs between the age of 10 and young adulthood.
  • Congenital scoliosis, which occurs when bony portions of the spine fail to form properly or segments that would normally be separated fuse together while a fetus is developing.
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis, which occurs in some children with neuromuscular diseases such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or Rett syndrome.

Our treatments include:

Nonoperative Therapies

  • Bracing and Casting: Bracing is a common treatment for adolescent scoliosis. We custom fit your child with an external brace to prevent progression of the spinal curve and maintain an upright spine. We use a variety of braces, including Rigo-cheneau bracing, and choose the most effective one that your child is most likely to wear as prescribed. We also typically use bracing after casting for children with infantile or juvenile scoliosis to maintain the spinal correction we achieved using the cast. Children with neuromuscular scoliosis may also benefit from a brace until they are ready to have scoliosis surgery.
  • Physical Therapy: At our Center for Conservative Treatment of Scoliosis, we offer Schroth physical therapy. Through specific exercises and corrective breathing techniques, our therapist aims to elongate your child's trunk and correct imbalances in the body. By developing the inner muscles of the rib cage, this therapy changes the shape of the upper trunk to correct spinal abnormalities. The result is a decrease in pain, slowing or halting of the curve's progression, and better heart and lung function, mobility, and posture.

Scoliosis Surgery

Our surgeons perform traditional open surgery on the spine through the front (anterior approach) or back (posterior approach) of the body to fuse or release vertebrae and to insert screws and spine-straightening rods. We are leaders in innovative spine surgery approaches such as:

  • Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS): Our surgeons have been at the forefront of VATS development and are among the best trained in the procedure. We try to use this minimally invasive spine surgery whenever possible in children whose scoliosis we will treat by operating through the chest. Using special surgical instruments and guided by a camera inserted through small incisions, we can access the spine and fuse the vertebrae, release them, and/or place screws and rods. This approach typically results in a shorter hospital stay, smaller scars, and a faster recovery for your child than open surgery.
  • Growing Rods and VEPTR: Treatment with growing rods and/or the Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib (VEPTR) permits continued growth in your child's spine, maximizes the space available for the lungs, and enhances your child's ability to breathe.
  • Spinal Stapling: Our center is one of only a few hospitals in the country to offer spinal stapling, a novel treatment for scoliosis patients who have progressive scoliosis at a young age. Spinal stapling is a two-hour minimally invasive surgery that involves implanting inch-long metallic staples across the growth plates of the spine.
  • MAGEC® Growing Rods: In 2014, we became the first hospital in New York City to offer MAGEC (MAGnetic Expansion Control) growing rods. MAGEC treatment involves the surgical placement of special growing rods in a young child's spine. The surgeon adjusts the rods every few months afterward using a remote-controlled device applied to the outside of the child's back during a routine outpatient visit, sparing the need for repeated surgeries.
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