Programs & Services

Spine Surgery at the Herbert J. Louis Center for Pediatric Orthopedics

Approximately 3 percent of the U.S. population, mostly girls, will develop scoliosis between the ages of 10 and 15.

It’s usually a surprise. Your child is active and happy, maybe she plays soccer or hikes. Then one day, sometime in early adolescence something is wrong. She appears to have scoliosis, an abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine, and needs to be examined more closely.

Scoliosis is more common than you’d think, affecting over 5 million children in the United States alone. Fortunately, it is treatable and, caught early enough, can be permanently corrected. Left untreated, it may cause long-term discomfort and interfere with the child’s ability to breathe.

Our Expertise

The Spine Surgery Program at Herbert J. Louis Center for Pediatric Orthopedics is the premier treatment facility for children with scoliosis and other spinal deformities in Arizona. Our pediatric orthopedic surgeons are focused on the spine and treat the whole spectrum of patients from infancy to early adulthood. Every year, our spinal services team performs hundreds of spine surgeries.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital Orthopedic surgeons are members of the Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Scoliosis Research Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Utilizing cutting edge technologies and pain management techniques, our team of pediatric spine surgeons, led by Greg White, MD, is able to provide effective treatments tailored to the patient’s condition and development stage. Because of this, the length of stay for Phoenix Children’s surgical patients is well below national average.

Our expert spine surgeons operate on children needing emergency spine surgery, tumors located on or near the spine and patients who have scoliosis.

Our team works closely with the experts at Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, diagnostic imaging, physical medicine and rehabilitation and many other divisions to ensure each patient receives a comprehensive approach to their care.

Scoliosis Types

Scoliosis typically fits into one of three major groups:

  • Adolescent idiopathic – Scoliosis that occurs while the child is growing
  • Congenital – Scoliosis that is present when the child is born
  • Neuromuscular – Scoliosis that accompanies conditions like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy

Most patients with scoliosis do not need surgery. Each year, our surgeons operate on more than 120 patients with spine-related issues that require surgery. These surgeries usually take up to five hours, depending on what is done, and require four to five days of recovery in the hospital after the surgery.

Once our doctors decide a child is a good candidate for surgery, they undergo a first evaluation. After that, they are invited to a pre-operation visit that provides an overview of the procedure and to tour of the facility. Lab tests and other examinations are done the day before the surgery. Then, after the surgery is complete and the patient is discharged from the hospital, they will return within two weeks for a follow-up appointment. After that, the child will only have to be seen annually through high school.

Most patients who undergo spine surgery can be back to regular activities and sports play within six months.

Before Surgery

After Surgery


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