Updating an Old Treatment for Scoliosis in Young Children

Mark Kabins, MD, is board certified in Orthopedic Surgery and Spine Surgery and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He serves on the advisory board of the prestigious academic journal Spine. Dr. Mark Kabins has more than 20 years of experience caring for people with back pain and spinal injuries.

A doctor in Rochester, New York, is working with young children who have been born with or have developed acute scoliosis. Dr. Jim Sanders hopes to bring new life to an old treatment method for the disease that causes severe curvature of the spine. While in some cases the spinal deformity does not threaten the lives and livelihoods of patients, in infants it is a serious problem that can even lead to death. With the spine bent out of its normal alignment, pressure on the chest cavity makes it difficult for the lungs to function properly.

Sanders’ method can help to correct the curvature and in some cases make it possible for children to avoid surgery. Forming a plaster cast around the child’s midsection, between the shoulders and the hips, allows for the simple pressure of the cast to help guide the developing spine along a straighter course. Every two months, the child will return and a new cast will be formed. The procedure offers families a minimally invasive path in place of more dangerous, costly, and scarring operations.

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