Pediatric Spine Center, Denver

Congenital spinal disorders are present at birth and have lasting effects on a child’s development.

Common Pediatric Spinal Disorders

  • Spina Bifida
  • Caudal Regression
  • Tethered Spinal Cord
  • VATER/ VACTERL Syndrome
  • Other congenital spine defects

Typically, these congenital defects are noted at birth but they also can be difficult to identify. Simple skin tags, dimples or abnormal skin lesions on the back can help diagnose defects or a tethered spinal cord. It is important that these children receive treatment before symptoms occur to prevent spinal cord damage.

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Child Development Problems Related to Spinal Defects

Children with spinal disorders typically have a problem with the development of the spine or brain, called a neural tube defect.

As a result, they tend to have multiple associated problems, including:

  • Chiari Malformation
  • Depression
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Infant Hip Dislocation
  • Obesity
  • Scoliosis
  • Tethered Spinal Cord
  • Urologic Abnormalities

Spinal Disorders in Newborns

Spina Bifida is a birth defect that can be identified by an ultrasound before the child is born. We provide counseling and education to help parents understand what this diagnosis might mean for their child.

Once a child is born with a spinal defect, the evaluation will involve initial exams by a neurosurgeon and neonatologist. Ultrasounds of the head are often done to evaluate for hydrocephalus (water on the brain).

Surgery may be required to close the defect and place a shunt to drain excess fluid from the brain. Later evaluations by specialists in Urology and Orthopedics are essential to make sure that all issues are addressed.

After the initial hospital stay, children can be followed by the team at The Pediatric Spinal Disorders Center. A treatment and follow-up plan is designed for each child depending on his individual needs and challenges.

Evaluation is tailored to each child and includes:

  • Functional assessments as needed
  • MRIs
  • Skeletal x-rays
  • Urologic testing