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Orthopedics is the branch of medicine dedicated to diagnosing and treating conditions of the musculoskeletal system – the muscles, bones, joints, and connective tissue throughout the body. A pediatric orthopedic surgeon is a doctor specially trained to treat orthopedic conditions in children who are still developing. Pediatric orthopedic surgeons treat children from infancy through the teen years.

Children who have complex problems are often treated by multidisciplinary pediatric teams at children’s hospitals, such as Beaumont Children’s. 

How does pediatric orthopedic surgery differ from adult orthopedic surgery?

Because children are growing and their bodies are developing and changing, they have different needs than adults when it comes to orthopedic surgery. Most adults who have surgery are treating injuries or degenerative joint conditions. Children also have orthopedic surgery to treat injuries, like broken bones or ruptured tendons, but many children who see orthopedic surgeons have congenital deformities that require specialized attention. With adults, most orthopedic surgeries are straightforward, while childhood orthopedic surgeries are often more complex.

Pediatric orthopedic surgeons must consider every child’s unique situation and how much growing that child has left to do before deciding upon the right treatment.

Types of surgery and conditions treated

Pediatric orthopedic surgeons at Beaumont are board-certified, fellowship-trained specialists who are nationally recognized leaders in their field. In addition to treating patients, they are continually researching new and better ways to treat children. They have developed expertise in cartilage biology, pediatric hip reconstruction, and complex spinal disorder management. At Beaumont, our pediatric orthopedic surgeons treat many conditions, including:

  • Spine deformities 
  • Clubfoot
  • Scoliosis, including adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and early-onset scoliosis
  • Differences in limb length
  • Spasticity
  • Congenital deformities of the hands, feet, and limbs
  • Congenital pseudo arthritis
  • Hip problems, including developmental dysplasia 
  • Gait abnormalities, including limping
  • Bone fractures, breaks, or infections
  • Bone tumors, both cancerous and non-cancerous
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Pediatric trauma
  • Sports injuries

Some of the surgical treatments Beaumont pediatric orthopedic surgeons offer are:

  • Deformity correction
  • Limb lengthening
  • Foot deformity reconstruction
  • Hip joint reconstruction
  • Periacetabular osteotomy
  • Surgical arthroscopy of the hip
  • Surgical dislocation and femoroacetabular impingement surgery
  • Spinal fusion
  • Spine reconstruction

Beaumont expertise

At Beaumont, we offer treatments that many other hospitals don’t. Our pediatric orthopedic surgeons have special expertise in:

  • Complex hip surgery – Beaumont Children’s is nationally recognized for skill in performing challenging hip procedures. We serve as a study center and meeting site for international studies on hip reconstruction and preservation orthopedic surgery for children, adolescents, and young adults.
    • When planning hip surgeries for children, surgeons must consider the child’s age and condition, how much growing the child is likely to do after the surgery, and whether there are treatments that could improve hip function until the child is fully grown. 
    • There are several procedures surgeons use to surgically correct hip abnormalities in children.
      • Closed reduction is a minimally invasive surgery that involves manipulating the ball of the hip back into its socket. After surgery, your child will have a body cast for a few months, which helps keep the hip joint in place.
      • Open reduction is a surgery done to remove tissue from the hip joint that is keeping the thigh bone from going back into its socket. Depending on your child’s age, he or she may only need hip joint cleaning or may require repair of the hip ligaments.
      • Femoral osteotomy, also known as varus de-rotational osteotomy (VDO or VDRO) is a procedure to hip the thigh bone so the ball rests deeper in the joint socket.
      • Pelvic osteotomy is a procedure to repair the hip socket. Surgeons at Beaumont perform several types of pelvic osteotomies. The type your child has will depend on his or her age, surgeon preference and experience, and the shape of your child’s hip socket.
  • Scoliosis – Scoliosis is curvature of the spine. Minor spine curves may be left alone or treated with a brace; but when the curvature is severe, likely to progress, or is impacting other areas of functioning, surgery may be the best option. 
    • The most common type of surgery to correct scoliosis is spinal fusion. During spinal fusion procedures, surgeons connect two or more of the vertebrae (bones in the spine) and fuse them together. This is done to stabilize that portion of the spine. 
    • If your child is still growing, surgeons can place an adjustable rod in the spine that can be lengthened as your child grows. The surgeon attaches the rod to the top and bottom of the areas of curvature in the spine and then lengthens the rod every six months or so.
    • Pediatric orthopedic surgeons are often the best people to treat severe scoliosis. Spine reconstruction is a complex procedure that requires expertise and precision. Our pediatric orthopedic surgeons have developed and published their findings regarding spinal cord and neurological monitoring during complex spine reconstruction. Their work makes Beaumont Children’s one of the safest hospitals in which to have pediatric orthopedic surgery.
  • Spasticity – Orthopedic surgeons at Beaumont Children’s are working with the Department of Physical Therapy at Oakland University to study new techniques for managing spasticity in children who have cerebral palsy and other disorders. Researchers are currently evaluating percutaneous myofascial muscle releases (PERCS) in the multidisciplinary clinic for cerebral palsy.
    • Another treatment for spasticity is a baclofen pump. This is a machine that delivers baclofen directly into the spinal canal to control involuntary movement that is common with conditions like cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, and brain injury. Doctors can program the pump to deliver different doses of medication at different times of day.
    • Placing the pump requires a minor surgical procedure. Surgeons put the pump under the skin near one of the hip bones, and a tiny tube is placed to deliver medication to an area of the spinal cord. 
    • After pump placement, your child’s doctor will work with you to find the right dose of medication, gradually increasing the dose until your child’s symptoms improve. 

Pediatric orthopedic surgery at Beaumont Children’s

Beaumont Children’s orthopedic specialists are constantly implementing what they learn to improve the physical capabilities and lives of the children they treat. If you trust your child’s care to Beaumont, you can expect multidisciplinary care from a team of experts who work with you to find the best, most effective treatment for your child. 

For a referral to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, call 855-480-KIDS (855-480-5437) or find one online.