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Innovation and Research

Gillette Foundation Lands Generous Grant That Will Help Expand Our Spine Program

The Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation awarded Gillette a generous grant to help expand Gillette Children’s spine program. This is the largest grant we’ve ever received.  The Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation was established in 1959 by Fred C. Andersen, the president of Andersen Windows Corporation from 1914 to 1960 based in Bayport, Minnesota. The foundation has an interest in nonprofit organizations that provide youth, elderly and health services in Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin.

The Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen five-year grant will help us grow our renowned spine program from a regional center of excellent clinical care to a national pediatric spine institute focused on high-quality clinical care, research and education.

Spine care is one of the core elements of our treatment of children and adults who have musculoskeletal, neurological and other complex and rare conditions. We’re a recognized regional leader in the treatment of children who have scoliosis and other neuromuscular conditions affecting the spine. Annually, we treat 3,500 patients who have scoliosis and provide 80 percent of spine surgeries for children in Minnesota age 14 and younger.

Gillette has the only spine program in Minnesota skilled at treating all types of spinal curvature including scoliosis and kyphosis. Our providers listen carefully to patients and create individualized treatment plans that address each patient’s goals and abilities. We utilize conservative approaches, such as physical therapy and bracing, to lessen or maintain curve severity and avoid surgery if possible. Our physical therapists develop individualized plans using scoliosis-specific exercises based on the Schroth Method. Our specially trained orthotists create customized braces (spinal orthoses) to fit each patient’s body and treatment goals. To address severe curvatures, we perform complex surgeries including spinal fusion surgery; vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib surgery to address severe curves that affect the chest and impede normal breathing or lung growth; and MAGEC rod implantation surgery, which provides internal, expandable braces that allow the spine to grow while limiting its ability to curve. Gillette is the first hospital in the region to use the Food and Drug Administration-approved MAGEC rod treatment and has performed among the most of these procedures in the nation. In addition, our state-of-the-science imaging equipment provides evaluations of spine conditions using minimal radiation.

Gillette spine surgeon Tenner Guillaume, MD, meets with his patient, Joshua, and his family to review the results of his latest surgery.

Gillette’s spine team includes Tenner Guillaume, MD; Walter Truong, MD; Daniel Miller, MD; Joseph Perra, MD; and Eduardo Beauchamp, MD The team members are board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric orthopedic surgeons, and are members of professional organizations such as the Scoliosis Research Society (co-founded in 1966 by John Moe, MD, a Gillette spine surgeon), the Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and others. They’re internationally recognized for their expertise in treating the full spectrum of spine curvature, and they continue to build on Gillette’s legacy of spine care by conducting and publishing spine research focused on long-term outcomes in patients who have scoliosis and other neuromuscular conditions affecting the spine.

Brennan comes to Gillette for weekly physical therapy, via the Schroth Method, to prevent her scoliosis from worsening.