Skip to navigation menu Skip to content
Two providers sit in front of a computer screen showing a patient’s X-ray

Spine Program

Expert Care From the Region’s Largest Pediatric Spine Program, Where Your Child’s Comfort Matters

Seattle Children’s Spine Program treats all spinal conditions in children of all ages. We offer the most comprehensive care for your child, no matter how complex their condition is. It’s why other Pacific Northwest hospitals refer their most complex pediatric patients to us. We also care for children with common spine problems, such as adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and back pain.

We have the largest pediatric spine center in the region and are dedicated to giving you the best possible patient and family experience. Our spine experts use advanced techniques and the latest technologies to provide safe, effective treatment custom made for your child.

Thomas Gordon and his son facing each other and touching foreheads

“Being at Seattle Children’s brought us a sense of comfort. I felt like they cared about us, not just as patients, but as people.”

– Ryder’s mom, Magi

Seattle Children’s became like a second home for Ryder after he was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1 and a rare type of kyphosis that affects the neck. Read Ryder’s story.

Conditions We Treat

We treat all pediatric spine conditions, from the most common to the most complex, including these:

  • Complex deformities of the spine, such as and
  • Kyphosis
  • Neck (cervical spine) conditions

Why choose Seattle Children’s Spine Program for care?

The spine experts you need are here
  • The Spine Program includes doctors, surgeons, (PAs) and (NPs) from Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. For conditions that affect your child’s or lungs, the team includes experts from Neurosciences and Pulmonary Medicine. They meet as a group to talk about patients’ needs and treatment plans.
  • Our first goal is to treat your child without surgery if we can. Often, this means physical therapy or a back brace. We have the largest team of physical therapists in the region who specialize in babies, children, teens and young adults. We also have onsite orthotists to build and fit braces.
  • If your child needs surgery, our orthopedic spine surgeons are leaders in their field. They have more training and experience with children’s complex spine conditions than anyone else in the area. Spine surgery for children is all they do. Each is .
  • Spine conditions can affect more than a child’s bones, muscles and joints. That’s why we connect you and your family with any expert your child may need across Seattle Children’s. For example, we may involve Adolescent MedicineRehabilitation MedicineRheumatology and Pain Medicine.
Spine care from birth through young adulthood
  • We specialize in caring for kids. This means our experts have the knowledge, training and skills to treat the youngest patients, from babies through young adults. Children with spine problems may need different treatments than adults do.
  • Babies, children and teens are still developing. When we evaluate your child’s condition, plan their treatment and provide their care, we carefully consider their growth. We think about how growth may affect their spine over time. We also consider how their spine may affect the rest of their development and health.
  • If your child needs imaging that uses radiation, we use the lowest amount possible (PDF) to make the best image. We have a low-dose radiation X-ray machine, called the EOS. It makes safer full-body images. We also have the largest group of  pediatric radiologists in the Northwest.
Our approach to surgery increases comfort and reduces stress
  • Our new state-of-the-art operating rooms reduce stress and increase comfort for your child. The design lets you stay by your child’s side until they gently go to sleep before any spine surgery.
  • Seattle Children’s Spine Program is known nationwide for excellence in all types of spinal surgery for kids. Each year, we do a high number of these surgeries. Higher volumes mean more experience and are linked to better results.
  • Before we recommend surgery, we look at your child as a whole person. Your child’s team will take many factors into account. These include how serious their condition is, the effects on their health, how much more they will grow and what results you can expect from treatment.
  • Our surgeons helped launch a technology that means kids need fewer surgeries for severe scoliosis and have better lives — the MAGEC (MAGnetic Expansion Control) system. We were also among the first to use . This treatment helps some children avoid spinal fusion (making bones grow together into 1 bone) and keep more movement in their spine.
  • We have a dedicated spine anesthesia team. They specialize in keeping children safe and comfortable during spine surgery.
  • helps us prevent a injury during surgery. Our surgical spinal cord monitoring team leads the country in new ways to make back surgery safer.
  • We have the technology and skills to use 3D imaging to guide your child’s surgery, if needed. This helps us place hardware, such as rods and screws, with precision. It also lets us see in real time the changes we make to your child’s spine. Based on your child’s needs, we may use or .
Support for your whole family
  • We know it can be stressful to have a child with a spinal condition and to find the treatment they need. Everyone at Seattle Children’s works to make your experience here as easy as we can on your whole family.
  • Your child’s team does more than plan and provide care for your child. We also make sure you and your child understand your child’s condition and treatment options.
  • Care is easier for you because your child’s Spine Program team will include experts from Orthopedics, Neurosciences and Pulmonary Medicine as needed. They work closely with each other and with other programs and clinics your child may need. For example, we often work with the Neuromuscular Program for or the Ortho Rehab Clinic for .
  • Seattle Children’s supports your family with a range of resources. Our Child Life specialistsFamily Resource Center and Guest Services are here to help.
Research and advances to improve spine care
  • Members of the Spine Program team are leaders in research. We are always striving to improve each child’s care. Our areas of research include treatment for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, neck problems and skeletal dysplasias. We developed advances in monitoring and treatment of scoliosis in very young children (early-onset scoliosis). We also study the effects of spine problems on breathing and look for better surgery methods.
  • Our spine experts are part of national and international research groups. These groups study the latest treatment approaches and technologies. Together, we work to find the best and safest ways to care for children. We are part of the Pediatric Spine Study GroupHarms Study Group, Fox Congenital Spine Study Group and Scoliosis Research Society.
  • Our surgeons have led research to reduce your child’s exposure to radiation from imaging tests, like X-rays and CT scans, before and during surgery.
  • As part of our constant work to improve results for kids, we developed standard plans (called protocols) to help your child recover after surgery.
  • Learn more about current orthopedics research at Seattle Children’s.

Treatments and Services

The Spine Program offers a full range of nonsurgical as well as surgical treatments, based on your child’s needs. We have special clinics for complex conditions, like neck problems, early-onset scoliosis and dwarfism.

We can help many children who have spine problems without surgery. Your child may have treatments such as:

  • Physical therapy to stretch or strengthen your child’s spine and nearby structures or work on posture
  • Orthotics, such as back braces, to support your child's spine
  • Mehta casting (PDF), where we put a cast on while your child is fully asleep under in the operating room
  • Changes in activity, either to rest or to strengthen parts of their spine

For children who need surgery, our pediatric spine specialists are known around the country for excellence in all types of spinal surgery. We offer surgery options such as:

Meet Your Spine Program Team

Surgeons, doctors, (PAs) and (NPs) from Orthopedics and Sports Medicine will work together to treat your child’s spine. For some conditions, your child might start by seeing a PA or NP. These experts know how to evaluate your child’s needs.

To find the best treatment for your child, our Orthopedics providers work closely with other departments. Your child’s team may involve members from Adolescent MedicineNeurosciencesOrthotics and ProstheticsPain MedicinePhysical TherapyPulmonary MedicineRehabilitation Medicine or Rheumatology.

Spine Program Resources

Questions? Contact Us


See All Contact and Locations Information

By clicking “Accept All Cookies,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage and assist in marketing efforts. For more information, see Website Privacy.

Accept All Cookies