Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital has unique experience managing pediatric cervical spine issues in South Florida. The cervical spine runs down your child’s neck and supports the weight of their head. Problems in this area can cause unusual spine alignment and ongoing pain that’s challenging to treat.
We are one of the few programs in the region with a team of pediatric orthopedic spine experts. Your child benefits from the personalized recommendations of nationally renowned doctors who use the best available therapies. We can help your child feel better and live an excellent quality of life.
About Pediatric Cervical Spine Issues
Complex cervical spine issues in children can lead to spinal instability. This potentially dangerous condition occurs when the spine bones (vertebrae) move in ways they shouldn’t. It disrupts nearby nerves, ligaments and muscles, making once-simple movements difficult and painful.
Other types of cervical spine disorders in children include tumors, scoliosis and traumatic injuries. We also treat congenital (present at birth) spine malformations from genetic bone disorders like Klippel-Feil syndrome.
Pediatric Cervical Spine and Spinal Instability Care
Experts review your child’s symptoms, assess their medical history and perform imaging studies. X-rays and MRIs are available on-site in many clinic locations enabling us to evaluate areas of concern thoroughly. Your child has easy access to advanced testing, including angiography (to examine blood flow), nerve conduction studies and spinal ultrasounds.
Nonsurgical Complex Cervical Spine and Spinal Instability Therapies
Nonsurgical therapies may reduce or delay the need for pediatric cervical spine surgery. Options include injections using real-time imaging to deliver medications and other substances with precision. For vascular malformations, we may use therapeutic ultrasound. This treatment uses focused energy from soundwaves to destroy unusual blood vessel formations.
Physical therapy from [U18] Sports Medicine helps speed recovery and optimizes function if your child needs surgery. Your child receives personalized therapies from board-certified pediatric therapists who have in-depth experience in complex cervical spine issues. The therapists work with orthopedic surgeons to ensure your child steadily progresses toward treatment goals.
Surgery for Congenital Anomalies, Spine Instability and Other Complex Conditions
Surgery may be necessary to improve spinal stability or remove tumors and abnormal bony structures. At Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, your child is in some of the region’s most capable hands. We use the latest pediatric spine surgery techniques and take extra steps to ensure your child’s safety. These include special technologies that help us navigate delicate tissue near the spinal cord.
For scoliosis, we may use vertical expandable prosthetic titanium ribs (VEPTR). Surgeons attach magnetic rods to the spine that expand as your child grows. We also excel in standard procedures, such as spinal fusion, which permanently joins two or more vertebrae. Children undergoing minor procedures are often up on their feet shortly after surgery.
Pediatric Cervical Spine Conditions We Treat
We treat rare and challenging conditions affecting the cervical spine, including:
• Bone and soft tissue tumors
• Complications of cerebral palsy
• Congenital spine anomalies, like torticollis or short neck due to Klippel-Feil syndrome
• Orthopedic trauma
• Spinal instability
• Vascular anomalies, such as spinal arteriovenous malformation, a tangle of blood vessels near the spinal cord
Complex Cervical Spine Care at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital
Our team includes three pediatric orthopedic surgeons. Some completed multiple advanced trainings (fellowships) in spine surgery. Others studied under the world’s foremost complex cervical spine specialists and have decades of experience. We deliver the best available care for any pediatric cervical spine concern. Meet our team.
Highlights of our program include:
- Experience: Pediatric cervical spine issues typically are rare and challenging to diagnose. But at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, you can feel confident about your child’s care. We regularly see these conditions, enabling us to quickly pinpoint the source of the problem and develop a treatment plan. Learn more about our spine program.
- Multidisciplinary approach: Our extended team includes musculoskeletal radiologists, interventional radiologists (who perform tests and deliver treatments through blood vessels) and physical therapists. We meet weekly to carefully coordinate tests and treatments, ensuring your child receives comprehensive care.
- Range of treatments: Nonsurgical therapies help many children feel better. Care may include bracing, injections or physical therapy. If surgery is necessary, minimally invasive procedures may be an option. We also perform traditional open spine surgery using advanced technologies that ensure the highest precision.
- Support: Complex cervical spine issues and spinal instability can bring unexpected changes to your child’s daily life. A pediatric psychologist can help your child manage these challenges and find healthy coping methods. This offering can have a significant and positive impact on your child’s motivation and recovery.