Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery
Director of Spine Surgery
Endowed Chair of Pediatric Spinal Disorders
Attending Physician
Professor of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine of USC
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David L. Skaggs, MD, MMM is chief of orthopaedic surgery and director of spine surgery at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Skaggs received his undergraduate degree from Amherst College and his medical degree from Columbia University of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed his internship and residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. He went on to complete a pediatric orthopaedic fellowship at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and a fellowship in orthopaedic research at Columbia University. He earned a masters in medical management from USC Marshall School of Business. Dr. Skaggs is a diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Dr. Skaggs serves on the Board of Directors of the Growing Spine Foundation and the Board of Directors of the Scoliosis Research Society. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is a member of the Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America, American Orthopaedic Association, Scoliosis Research Society, Growing Spine Study Group and a honorary member of the Brazilian Pediatric Orthopaedic Society.

Dr. Skaggs is renowned for his expertise in the treatment of children with spinal deformity, and has been featured on numerous television shows, published over 170 peer-reviewed articles and has authored and edited several letters, chapters and textbooks. A prolific speaker, Dr. Skaggs has presented on his area of expertise at both the national and international level. He has served as a visiting professor at many of the nation’s top medical schools.

Clinical Interests

Kyphosis, scoliosis, complex trauma, fractures, hip disorders and spinal deformities


Medical School: 

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons


Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center


Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center


Pediatric Orthopaedic Fellowship, University of Southern California - Children's Hospital Los Angeles; Orthopaedic Research Fellowship, Columbia University



Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Professional Memberships: 
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 1999-present
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 1999-present
  • Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America, 1999-present
  • American Orthopaedic Association, 2005-present
  • Scoliosis Research Society, 1998-present
  • Honorary Member, Brazilian Pediatric Orthopaedic Society, 2009-present
  • Growing Spine Study Group, 2007-present 
  • Sandoz Award, 1989  
  • Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.  Given to one medical student in the graduating class for excellence in medical research.
  • Rosamond Kane Award, 1994
  • Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Department of Orthopedics. Given for excellence in orthopedic research and clinical acumen in the care of children.
  • Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America Young Investigator Award, 2000
  • Competitive award based on past research and proposal for future study.
  • Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America Traveling Fellowship, 2002.
  • American-British-Canadian Traveling Fellow American Orthopedic Association, 2003.
  • Marc A. Asher Clinical Scientific Paper Award – presented for the outstanding clinical scientific paper at the Annual Meeting of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, 2004, “Botulinum Toxin as an Adjunct to Serial Casting in Children with Cerebral Palsy”.
  • Best Spine Poster, Galveston Fixation in Neuromuscular Scoliosis: The Gold Standard for New Instrumentation to Beat, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Washington  DC, February 23-27, 2005.
  • Robert N. Hensinger Clinical Scientific Paper Award – presented for the outstanding clinical scientific paper at the Annual Meeting of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, 2005. “Volume of Scoliosis Surgery Among Surgeons with Spine versus Pediatric Orthopaedic Fellowship Training in the States of New York and California”.
  • Best Poster, "Some Connectors Fail More Than Others",  4th Annual International Congress on Early Onset Scoliosis and Growing Spine, Orlando, Florida, Nov 18-19, 2011.
  • Best Paper, “Law of Diminishing Returns” 3rd International Congress on Early Onset Scoliosis and Growing Spine, November 2011,  Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Orthopedics This Week "Top U.S. Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeons", 2014-2015
  • Becker's Spine Review list of "50 Spine Surgeons Focusing on Scoliosis Development." 2013
  • Top 17 U.S Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeons, Orthopedics This Week, 2013
  • Best Paper, International Congress of Early Onset Scoliosis.
  • “The Classification for Early Onset Scoliosis Identifies Patients at Higher Risk for Complications at 5 years of Follow Up”, 2013.
  • Best Poster, “Anterior Humeral Line in Normal Elbows”, Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Las Vegas, NV,  March 24-28, 2015.
  • Verapoh Yerapeh (“…and he shall heal.”) award, Bikur Cholim, Los Angeles, CA, Sept. 7, 2015.
  • Los Angeles Business Journal, Top Doctors in Los Angeles, 2018
  • Best Doctors, Pasadena Magazine, 2009-present
  • Marquis Who’s Who in America, 2005- present
  • Top Doctors in America, 2012- present
  • Best Doctors in America, 2005- present
  • Los Angeles Magazine, Southern California Super Doctors, 2013-present

Smith JT, Johnston C, Skaggs DL, Flynn J, Vitale M. A New Classification System to Report Complications in Growing Spine Surgery: A Multicenter Consensus Study. J Pediatr Orthop. 2015 Jan 8. [Epub ahead of print]

Yamaguchi KT, Salem JB, Myung KS, Romero AN, Skaggs DL. Spinal Deformity in Russell-Silver Syndrome. Spine Deformity. In press.

Yamaguchi KT, Andras LM, Lee C, Skaggs DL. Successful Brace Treatment of Scheuermann’s Kyphosis in Skeletally Mature Patients and Severe Kyphosis. Annals of Orthopaedics & Rheumatology. 2(2): 1018-1021.

Seehausen DA, Skaggs DL, Andras LM, Javidan Y. Safety and Efficacy of Power Assisted Pedicle Tract Preparation and Screw Placement. Spine Deformity. 3(2):159-165, 2015.

Barrett KK, Lee C, Myung KS, Johnston C, Shah S, Akbarnia BA, Skaggs DL, Growing Spine Study Group. The Effect of Growing Rod Treatment on Hemoglobin and Hematocrit Levels in Early Onset Scoliosis. J Pediatr Orthop. In press.

Sanders AE, Andras LM, Sousa T, Kissinger C, Cucchiaro G, Skaggs DL. Accelerated Discharge Protocol for Posterior Spinal Fusion Patients With Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Decreases Hospital Postoperative Charges 22. Spine. 2017 Jan 15;42(2):92-7.

Yasmeh S, Quinn A, Harris L, Sanders AE, Sousa T, Skaggs DL, Andras LM. Periosteal turndown flap for posterior occipitocervical fusion: a technique review. European Spine Journal. 2017 May 2:1-5.

Chan P, Skaggs DL, Sanders AE, Villamor GA, Choi PD, Tolo VT, Andras LM. Pain is the Greatest Preoperative Concern for Patients and Parents Before Posterior Spinal Fusion for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. Spine. 2017 Nov 1;42(21):E1245-50.

Sousa T, Skaggs DL, Chan P, Yamaguchi KT, Borgella J, Lee C, Sawyer J, Moisan A, Flynn JM, Gunderson M, Hresko MT. Benign Natural History of Spondylolysis in Adolescence With Midterm Follow-Up. Spine Deformity. 2017 Mar 31;5(2):134-8.

Yang J, Andras LM, Broom AM, Gonsalves, NR, Barrett KK, Georgiadis AG, Flynn JM, Tolo VT, Skaggs DL. Preventing Distal Junctional Kyphosis by Applying the Stable Sagittal Vertebra Concept to Selective Thoracic Fusion in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. Spine Deformity. 2018 16(1):38-42.

Research Interests: 

The Children’s Orthopaedic Center has pioneered new techniques in caring for kids with spinal deformities and optimal care of children with fractures.   

Visit the Skaggs Laboratory.


Children's Hospital Los Angeles

4650 Sunset Blvd.
Orthopaedic Surgery, #69
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Phone: 323-361-2142Office
Fax: 323-666-4409Fax