Lurie Children’s provides comprehensive care, evaluates and manages scoliosis through a multidisciplinary program. The program focuses on children and adolescents. Scoliosis is a spine condition that causes the back to curve to the side (when viewed from the front).
The Lurie Children's Difference
We practice family-centered care, which means we include parents and families in our treatment plans to make sure our patients receive the best and most appropriate care possible. Our treatment plans often involve coordination between several different specialties within the hospital to meet all of our patients needs. Depending on your child’s needs, you’ll have access to experts in the following areas:
Child life specialists
Pediatric medicine specialists
We also partner with ParentWISE®, a support program offered by parent volunteers who have children with scoliosis. ParentWISE volunteers speak with patients’ parents to listen to concerns, offer support and help with coping strategies. PeerWISE is a similar mentoring program that connects interested patients with older kids who have previously gone through treatment for support and guidance.
In our ongoing pursuit of high-quality care, we participate in surgery outcomes studies. Patient-families interested in our research can search any of our physicians’ publications on pubmed.gov.
What to Expect
Our patients have mild, moderate or severe scoliosis. There are different treatment options for each level of severity.
Patients with mild scoliosis are generally seen every four to six months to monitor their spine curvature while they’re still growing. If the curvature eventually becomes a problem, then corrective measures will be taken.
Patients with moderate scoliosis are often referred to the Orthotics Department for bracing. Our physical therapy team also helps manage spine health through exercises, including a special scoliosis-focused yoga class. Some very young patients with moderate to severe scoliosis will be treated through serial casting.
The severe forms of scoliosis are treated through surgery – a posterior spinal fusion with instrumentation (PSF/I). Following PSF, patients will spend roughly a week recovering in the hospital, one month recovering at home, and then one to six months in school, while not participating in sports.
After surgery, we will schedule follow up appointments periodically for as long as five years.
Children with associated conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other neurological conditions often undergo PSF/I before adolescence. Younger children with these conditions may go through serial casting as an alternative.
John F. Sarwark, MD, Head of the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
John J. Grayhack, MD, is an attending physician in orthopaedic surgery and Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Feinberg School.
Erik C. King, MD, is an attending physician in orthopaedic surgery and Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Feinberg School.
Joseph A. Janicki, MD, is an attending physician in orthopaedic surgery and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Feinberg School. He currently serves as the co-director of the Bone Health Program. He has a number of grant-funded bone health research initiatives.
Michelle L. Sagan, MD, is an attending physician in orthopaedic surgery and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Feinberg School.
In addition to our physicians, we have many other talented specialists on our nursing staff.
Your support is important in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of patients and families. Lurie Children’s relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research for children. The Teresa Phillip Fund benefits our scoliosis program, and has recently worked to help supply families with soap to use prior to surgery. Bathing with the right soap helps improve outcomes.