When it comes to pediatric spine care, you can count on the experienced professionals at Gillette Children’s for expert treatment. But why should you choose a pediatric spine specialist over a general spine care expert? The options can be overwhelming, but with the recent launch of our Spine Institute, Gillette is here to help.
We spoke with pediatric spine expert Danielle Harding, PA-C, about why a pediatric spine specialist is the best option to treat spine conditions in children and teens.
Why is a pediatric spine specialist the right choice to treat spine conditions in children?
A pediatric spine specialist is the right choice to treat spine conditions in children because children (and teens) are not simply “small adults”—in fact, their bodies work differently and change quickly as they grow. Pediatrics-trained spine specialists have experience monitoring these differences throughout a child’s development and can recommend appropriate diagnostic tests and treatments for children and teens.
Tests and treatment options may change as a child moves through infancy and into childhood and adolescence. A pediatrics-trained spine care provider can guide a patient through that journey, counseling families on both the present and the future when it comes to a spine condition.
How does a pediatric spine specialist care for teens with spine conditions?
Teenagers are growing rapidly, and managing the growth spurts of teens with spine conditions requires careful consideration that is different from the kind of treatment given to adults with scoliosis, for example.
Our on-site orthotics team works closely with providers to make sure we are providing the best options for spine care management during what can be a tumultuous time in someone’s life, when teens are very active in sports and activities and attending school—a time when being different, or wearing a brace, can cause added challenges. More recent advances, such as with nighttime bracing, provide options that fit best with a teen patient’s active lifestyle.
What are some of the most common spine conditions in children and teens?
Common spine conditions in children and teens include:
- Pediatric scoliosis: an abnormal curve in the spine, both idiopathic (of unknown cause) and associated with an underlying medical condition
- Hyperkyphosis: a larger-than-normal forward curve of the spine
- Spondylolysis: a stress injury to the weakest part of the spine
- Spondylolisthesis: the forward shifting of one of the small bones of the spine (vertebra) on another
What should patients and their families consider when choosing a specialist for pediatric spine care?
A relationship with children and teens’ bone and spine expert is often a long-term one. Pediatric spine care providers monitor a child’s growth over many years, so feeling comfortable sharing concerns, asking questions, and working with a provider to make the best decision for each unique patient are important factors to consider when choosing a spine specialist.
What sets Gillette Children's spine care apart?
Gillette Children’s internationally recognized pediatric spine care providers lead the charge to innovate and redefine children’s bone and spine surgery and care.
The spine team at Gillette is fortunate to have providers in other specialties and services on site, which means that pediatric spine care experts work as a team to coordinate everything from x-rays and bracing to occupational and physical therapy. These partnerships mean that all Gillette departments and providers involved in a child or teen’s care are aware of concerns and care decisions.
With many specialties under one roof, we can make sure that your child or teen’s care is seamless and be certain that we are being mindful of our patients’ diverse needs, especially if spine surgery is eventually recommended. This allows us to consider how their spine care is integrated with other aspects of their medical care. Such consideration is especially important when it comes to preparing for spine surgery, helping to make sure that patients and their families are as prepared as possible – medically, mentally, and emotionally.