Embarking on a global mission to redefine pediatric spine care, Gillette Children’s Spine Institute is transforming care through the convergence of collaborative sub-specialty clinical care, patient-centered research, and the expansion of health literacy. The collective energy of these focal points will propel innovation that changes the care of children’s spine health.
Tenner Guillaume, MD, pediatric orthopedic surgeon, was named Chair of the Gillette Spine Institute. He says, “The creation of the Spine Institute signifies Gillette Children’s ongoing commitment to innovative, personalized, pediatric spine care. Our team is advancing spine health through three tenets: advancing evidence-based clinical practices, patient-centered research, and empowering parents with education to make confident decisions. At the intersection of these pillars, we transform care for children with common to complex spine conditions.”
The Future of Spine Care is Highly Personalized
The future of pediatric spine care lies in a highly personalized approach. It involves tailoring evidence-based treatments and interventions to specific needs, complexity, circumstances, and preferences. The Spine Institute is at the forefront of this transformative shift by enhancing our patient-centered model. Gillette Children’s considers each child’s unique circumstances, aspirations, and preferences as a part of the assessment and treatment plan.
Converging the Power of Clinical Expertise, Research, and Health Literacy
As one of the nation’s largest spinal care providers, our patients benefit from a team of subspecialty experts. Together, this interconnected expertise is reshaping the care for children with spine conditions.
1. Clinical Expertise
With more than 125 years of experience, the Spine Institute is committed to delivering state-of-the-art clinical care tailored to the unique needs of each child. From routine to rare and complex, experienced spine and pediatric orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, physical therapists, onsite orthotics, and other specialists collaborate to develop personalized treatment plans that prioritize the child’s well-being and long-term health.
Advanced technologies, novel surgical techniques, and enhanced imaging work together with extensive clinical expertise — for example, higher quality imaging with lower dosage radiation X-rays.
Often, patients at Gillette have very complex spinal curvatures and anatomy. Traditionally, pediatric orthopedic surgeons had to rely on imaging such as X-ray, MRI, and CT alone, which take 3-dimensional (3D) patients and convert their spines into 2-dimensions (2D). Surgeons then utilized these 2D images to create a 3D understanding of the spine in their mind’s eye to plan interventions.
Dr. Guillaume says, "Thanks to the Spine Institute’s clinical partnerships, we now have the technology to create life-sized, printed 3D models of our patients’ spines preoperatively. This allows us to truly understand and study the patients’ spines to tailor surgeries better and maximize safety. These 3D models can then be employed in the operating room to guide our surgical plans and treatments in real time. We have truly entered a new era of pediatric spine surgery."
2. Patient-Centered Research
Gillette uses research to push the boundaries of what is possible in spine care. Each study is designed with the patients and their families in mind, seeking to identify treatments that maximize patient outcomes while minimizing the impact of treatments rendered. Through a close, collaborative relationship between researchers and the clinical team, insights are translated into new clinical pathways and opportunities for patients.
Our clinical and research teams collaborate with national and international experts in multisite studies and registries (like the Pediatric Spine Study Group) to ensure that we are contributing to the greater body of knowledge in the treatment of pediatric-onset spine conditions
in ways that will impact care.
3. Empowering Health Literacy
Gillette Children’s Spine Institute is committed to providing both parents and healthcare providers with valuable resources that allow families to make informed and confident decisions for their children, whether they are dealing with common or complex pediatric spine conditions.
For parents, our educational materials demystify complex spine symptoms, conditions, and treatment options, with a special focus on preparing for surgery and home care after surgery. This detailed education enables communication that builds trusted relationships between our spine care team and their patients.
For providers, Continuing Medical Education (CME) is offered to ensure providers stay updated with the latest research, advanced options, and evidence-based practices in pediatric spine health. For established family medicine providers or pediatricians, our spine team takes care to offer referral guides and red flags for spine conditions they may encounter in their practice. Gillette also offers Spine Research Fellowships and other clinical experiences.