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Center for Pediatric Spinal Disorders

What are pediatric spinal deformities?


Spinal deformity in children can present in several forms including scoliosis, kyphosis and spondylolisthesis. Scoliosis and kyphosis are types of abnormal curves to of the spine. Spondylolisthesis is a part of the spine that been displaced. If your child has a spinal deformity, they should have a medical evaluation as soon as possible.

Do children suffer back pain? What are the symptoms I should look for in my child? Do all spinal deformities need surgery?


  • Back problems aren’t limited to adults and your child can experience back pain if they have a spinal deformity.

  • Common symptoms include lower back pain, altered walking, or a abnormal appearance to the back.

  • Children may also have no pain associated with a spinal deformity and it is important to catch the defomity early as it may respond to treatment better.

  • Many pediatric spinal deformities can be treated without surgery with physical therapy or bracing. When surgery is required, it’s important to choose a highly experienced team of pediatric neurosurgeons and pediatric orthopedic surgeons.


What else should I look to see if my child has a spine deformity?


When trying to determine f your child has a spine deformity it may also help to see if they have any of the following. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Difference in shoulder height

  • The head is off centered with the rest of the body

  • Difference in hip height or position

  • Difference in shoulder blade height or position

  • Arms hang differently when standing straight

  • When bending forward, the sides of the back appear different in height

  • Prominence in the ribs with possible asymmetry

  • Leg or back pain

  • Tight hamstrings

  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits

What causes spinal deformity?


Certain types of spinal deformity can be present at birth (congenital) or from an acquired condition. Girls are more frequently affects than boys. Spine deformities may also be seen with the following:


  • Metabolic problems

  • Neuromuscular conditions

  • Osteogenesis imperfecta, with brittle bones that easily fracture

  • Spina bifida

  • Posture: usually noticeable in teens and can be associated with slouching. Exercise is used to help correct kids.

  • birth trauma

  • spine tumors

  • genetics

For many children, further testing is needed to identify a cause, if possible.


What should I do if I think my child has a spine deformity?


The most important thing to do is to have your child looked at by their pediatrician or by contacting us for an appointment. These steps will be important to help protect your child from additional harm.


We are happy to speak with you, and please reach out especially if:

  • Your child has a new diagnosis

  • Your child has a change in their condition

  • A surgery has been recommended for your child


How do I get a second opinion for my child's care?

  • We realize that you want the best care for your family and that traveling to receive treatment can often be difficult for your child and other children in your family, At Premier, we know how difficult it is when your child requires neurosurgical evaluation and care. We are always available to offer a second opinion for your child's treatment and to set up a consultation with one of our specialists

  • Now you can access the expertise of a world-renowned pediatric specialist locally and from home. Our Second Opinion Program provides families with information regarding complex medical concerns. Families can easily  access an expert second opinion from our pediatric specialists.

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