Children's Orthopaedic Center
The program receives high honors annually from U.S. News & World Report and is regularly ranked among the elite children’s orthopaedic programs nationwide, confirming the excellence and scope of our patient care. It also speaks to our reputation among our peers, our vigilance in preventing surgical complications, our use of the most advanced technologies and our supportive relationships with our patient families.
Programs and Services
- Hip Disorders Program
- Children's Spine Center
- Sports Medicine
- Bone and Soft Tissue Program
- Hand and Upper Extremity Program
- Neuromuscular Program
- EOS Imaging
Hip preservation may sound like a matter for geriatric care, but research indicates that many adult hip diseases—chief among them, hip arthritis—are the result of conditions that appear in childhood. Accordingly, the Hip Disorders Program within the Children’s Orthopaedic Center takes steps to keep hip ailments from arising later in life by identifying risk factors and treating them in childhood, enabling our patients to grow into healthier, mobile, pain-free adults.
Our staff of orthopaedic surgeons, nurses, physical therapists and orthotists includes two of a small number of pediatric hip preservation specialists in the country. In addition to treating all forms of arthritis that aggravate the hip, we see hundreds of children and young adults annually with diagnoses that include developmental dysplasia of the hip, Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease, slipped capital femoral epiphysis, femoro-acetabular impingement, hip fractures and osteonecrosis.
The Children’s Spine Center provides safe and effective treatment for the spines of more kids than anywhere else in the western United States. While some facilities perform a handful of scoliosis surgeries a year, the Spine Center handles about one per day. A mere 1 percent of teenage scoliosis patients require surgery; at CHLA, that number is nearly 30 percent—the result of other hospitals referring their most advanced cases to us, recognizing our unique capability to handle them.
Our treatment for spinal deformities incorporates physical therapy, core strengthening and orthotics, in addition to innovative options that only a few centers in the nation offer. As an example, we pioneered the use of magnetic expansion control rods, which stabilize and support the spine of a scoliosis patient while creating room for the chest to develop. Doctors maneuver and lengthen the devices externally, with the use of magnets, eliminating the need for the invasive surgery required every six months to adjust traditional growth rods.
Our treatment for spinal deformities incorporates physical therapy, core strengthening and orthotics, in addition to innovative options that only a few centers in the nation offer. As an example, we are pioneering the use of magnetic expansion control rods, which stabilize and support the spine of a scoliosis patient while creating room for the chest to develop. Doctors lengthen the devices externally, with the use of magnets, eliminating the need for the invasive surgery required every six months to adjust conventional growth rods.
The Children’s Orthopaedic Center is home to the only pediatric Sports Medicine Program in the Greater Los Angeles area. Led by doctors who also serve as physicians for the L.A. Galaxy professional soccer team, our program cares for all the orthopedic conditions that can impair young athletes, such as broken bones, ligament tears, dislocations, stress fractures and growth plate injuries.
Roughly 10 percent of the approximate 5,000 patients the program treats annually are seen in the Sports Concussion Clinic, the only one of its kind in California. The clinic’s treatment and research efforts are dedicated to concussions and include a peer support group, where patients can share their experiences and give and receive encouragement during their recovery.
The success of the Sports Medicine Program has much to do with our access to new technologies, such as those housed in the John C. Wilson, Jr., Motion Analysis Laboratory. The lab uses sophisticated video and computer simulation to assess a child’s gait, muscle activity and joint movements. That evaluation guides surgeons toward the most effective course of treatment for patients with various movement defects. This data-driven orthopedic care has a hand in post-surgical rehabilitation, pain assessment, performance enhancement and injury prevention. The benefits are profound: Applying motion analysis feedback changes the surgical plans for nearly 9 in 10 of our patients, and reduces the need for a second surgery by two-thirds.
The Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Program serves as a consummate example of the Children’s Orthopaedic Center’s integrated approach to patient care. The program teams our orthopaedic surgeons with oncologists, pediatric surgeons, pathologists, musculoskeletal radiologists, radiation oncologists, child life specialists and the pediatric rehabilitation team to craft a comprehensive treatment plan for children with musculoskeletal tumors.
Led by one of only two surgeons in the western U.S. with formal training in pediatric orthopaedics and musculoskeletal oncology, the program sees more patients with bone and soft tissue tumors than any other children’s hospital in the region and is a leader in technology and research aimed at advancing the field of bone and soft tissue tumors in children, adolescents and young adults.
The Children’s Orthopaedic Center Hand and Upper Extremity Program treats more than 200 kids each month for the full range of disorders that affect the hand, elbow and shoulder, from common joint pain and fractures to complex cases of cerebral palsy, birth brachial plexus palsy, and congenital hand deformities. Our surgeons provide state-of-the-art care, including microsurgery, to improve the function and appearance of the arms and hands of children.
The program offers another example of our commitment to collaborative patient care. Surgeons and occupational therapists care for patients together, combining their expertise to develop a therapy plan drawn up to the precise needs of every child the clinic sees.
Thousands of children with nerve and muscle weakness seek treatment in the Children’s Orthopaedic Center very year, for diseases that include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida and Rett Syndrome. Our neuromuscular experts join forces with other specialists such as pediatric neurologists, occupational and physical therapists, neurosurgeons and physiatrists to help children walk better, walk faster and walk stronger.
Together, using the newest technologies, they oversee the range of complex care our patients require, including nonoperative treatments such as bracing, therapy and equipment needs. For ambulatory children, evaluation in the John C. Wilson, Jr., Motion Analysis and Sports Assessment Laboratory provides critical data to allow the best treatment decisions possible.
Our Children’s Orthopaedic Center and the Department of Radiology and Imaging are dedicated to providing the highest-quality patient care under the safest conditions. Our EOS Imaging System is helping us providing the highest quality care while reducing exposure to radiation for our patients.
What is the EOS Imaging System used for? Why is EOS different than other machines?
The EOS Imaging System (EOS) is an advanced X-ray system that uses two extremely fine beams to capture 2D and 3D images at one time. The images are then combined into a three-dimensional image that can help surgeons make well-informed decisions about care. The scans take approximately 20 seconds or less to take and reduce radiation exposure for a developing child by 90 percent overall as compared to a conventional X-ray machine.
How can reducing radiation exposure help patients?
Reducing radiation exposure can have positive long-term effects, particularly in cases where children are diagnosed with skeletal disorders of the spine or extremities that require repeated scans over time.
How is an EOS system different from a standard X-ray system?
EOS is different from conventional X-Ray machines in several ways:
- It uses two images to construct one 3D image.
- It uses extremely fine beams of radiation, reducing radiation exposure for each scan by up to 90 percent compared to a standard X-Ray.
- Patients are scanned while standing up and while bearing weight—both of which are crucial for planning successful orthopaedic surgeries.
- EOS is safe and patient- and operator-friendly.
What can a patient expect during the EOS imaging experience?
Patients can expect the EOS experience to be convenient, comfortable, fast and non-traumatic.