Updates

BJC and Saint Luke’s Officially Combine as BJC Health System

Why choose us for spinal deformity care?

BJC HealthCare works with Washington University physicians, BJC Medical Group, and providers across the region to deliver extraordinary care. Our experts deliver appropriate care that helps adults and children live their best possible quality of life. We use the latest methods to assess symptoms and tailor recommendations. For mild spinal curvature, therapy might not be necessary. People with a more severe curvature have access to every available treatment option.

We offer:

  • Trusted experts: Neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons specializing in complex spine conditions guide your care. Some doctors have decades of experience and maintain an international reputation for their contributions to the field. Our experience with thousands of patients helps us manage small details that lead to exceptional outcomes.
  • Advanced surgical procedures: You can count on us for sophisticated options that aren’t widely available if surgery is right for you or your child. Options include vertebral stapling, a newer pediatric technique that does not require post-procedure bracing. It helps many children avoid spinal fusion, which carries a risk of long-term complications. Explore the Spinal Disorders Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
  • Connected and comprehensive care: Multiple specialists come together to ensure precise care for complex cases. The team includes electrophysiologists who make sure surgical instruments and hardware remain at a safe distance from your spinal cord during surgery. Physical therapists help optimize recovery and functioning.
  • Leadership: We were one of seven programs in North America to participate in a National Institutes of Health study of surgical and non-surgical adult scoliosis care. Our experts also train up-and-coming specialists through our spine surgery fellowship. These efforts enable us to share our knowledge to benefit patients worldwide.
What spinal deformities do we treat?

We treat a broad range of spinal deformities, including:

  • Congenital scoliosis
    Your spine curves sideways - it's present at birth because the vertebrae do not develop as expected.
  • Degenerative (adult-onset) scoliosis
    A breakdown in the moving parts of your spine (facet joints and discs) causes an unusual sideways spinal curvature.
  • Early onset scoliosis
    This is a progressive spinal curvature in children younger than 10.
  • Flatback syndrome
    The natural curvature of the spine flattens out either in your upper spine, lower spine or both causing your torso to pitch forward.
  • Round back (kyphosis)
    This is an unnatural outward curvature in your upper back vertebrae that creates a rounded appearance.
  • Spinal arthritis (spondylosis)
    This condition causes ongoing pain due to wear and tear on the cartilage cushioning your spine. It can affect joints in your back or neck.
  • Spinal arthritis (spondylosis)
    This condition causes ongoing pain due to wear and tear on the cartilage cushioning your spine. It can affect joints in your back or neck.
  • Spondylolisthesis
    A forceful impact causes a vertebra to slip out of place, landing on your spine bone below, potentially injuring nerve tissue.
Non-surgical spinal deformity treatments

You may benefit from non-surgical therapies if the spinal curvature is mild or progressing slowly. We perform a thorough evaluation to determine whether this is the right course of care for you or your child.

Treatments include:

  • Observation
    We monitor your spine with periodic X-rays and a physical exam. We typically recommend receiving these services every six months.
  • Bracing
    Wearing a custom back brace may slow spinal curvature progression.
  • Physical therapy for spinal deformity
    We guide you through special exercises that strengthen your core, giving your spine the additional support it needs.
Spinal deformity surgery options

Surgery for spinal deformities relieves discomfort and protects against complications like breathing problems. We offer innovative alternatives to spinal fusion for pediatric scoliosis that support healthy spine development. Our experts also excel in adult procedures.

Types of scoliosis procedures we offer for pediatrics and adults include:

  • MAGnetic Expansion Control (MAGEC) growing rods
    We implant rods into the spine to straighten it. As your child grows, a device activates magnets that extend the rods.
  • Shilla procedure
    Surgeons attach rods to specific vertebrae and anchor them with surgical screws. This corrects the curvature while allowing your child's spine to grow.
  • Vertebral stapling
    We attach surgical staples to one side of the vertebrae. This lessens the degree of spinal curvature as the other side grows.
  • Vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR)
    Experts attach a special rod to your child's ribs, vertebrae or pelvis. It straightens their spine and separates the ribs giving their lungs more space to expand.
  • Pedicle subtraction osteotomy
    We remove sections of bone to restore more natural spinal alignment in people with severe kyphosis or flatback syndrome.
  • Spinal fusion
    Surgeons use pieces of bone, medical-grade cement or surgical hardware to join (fuse) two spine bones permanently.
Patient preparation and education
Spinal Deformities News & Resources
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