Why it doesn’t always take a brain surgeon to explain brain surgery

As a pediatric neurosurgeon, I help children with a wide range of neurological conditions. It can be a challenge explaining diseases and illnesses that affect the brain to families. That’s why when I came across Isabelle’s video on YouTube, I thought, I couldn’t have said …Continue reading →

Why broken bones in kids and teens need special treatment

Why broken bones in kids and teens need special treatment

Since kids are still growing, special care needs to be taken.

Summer means kids of all ages are out riding bikes and scooters and bouncing on trampolines. But warm weather also brings injuries, and that often means broken bones.

If your child falls or is injured, it’s important to understand that treating broken bones in kids is different. Their bones are more flexible, so when they break, the fracture patterns aren’t the same as you’d see in an adult’s bones.

The right treatment for kids depends on the location and type of break. Some breaks will heal well with limited care, but others will need surgery to heal …Continue reading →

Break dancing after a spinal fusion: Jadyn hasn’t slowed down one bit

Break dancing after a spinal fusion: Jayden hasn't slowed down one bit

Jadyn enjoys hip-hop and break dancing.

I’ve been an orthopedic surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin for a long time. Our Orthopedics team is a very dedicated group, and we make every effort to make each patient comfortable, from kids with broken bones to patients who need complex surgeries.

Jadyn, age 13, is a great example of one of these complex cases. She had quickly progressing scoliosis, and her curve was too large for a brace. We had to prepare …Continue reading →

What parents need to know about Wisconsin’s concussion law and youth athletics

Welcome to 2013! If your kids participate in sports this year, you should know that Wisconsin’s concussion law requires all youth athletic organizations, from recreational leagues to clubs or school sports, to educate coaches, athletes and parents about concussions. Everyone should be aware of the signs and effects of concussion, because …Continue reading →

Why it’s important to customize the form and fit of a scoliosis brace

Many families are preparing for school and fall sports. As part of these preparations, you might be arranging physicals for your kids. During the exam, your child’s doctor may tell you he or she has signs of scoliosis.

I’m an orthotist, and for the last 17 years, I’ve worked with patients at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. An orthotist is a person who makes braces for most any part of the body, including back braces for kids with scoliosis. But I don’t do teeth, I leave that to the orthodontists!

Scoliosis usually is diagnosed when a child is between the ages of 10 and 15, and most …Continue reading →

Just cool it: Why heat illness is dangerous for young athletes

August in Wisconsin means high heat and humidity. As the temperature climbs, I worry about young athletes heading back to the practice field. Every year I hear about kids dying from heat illness, and it’s so easy to prevent. Kids practicing in hot weather, outdoors or inside (heat illness can happen in a hot gym too), are at risk.

Watch for the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke — two common types …Continue reading →

Navigating the twists and turns: How we helped our daughter manage scoliosis

It was nearly three years ago, but I still remember the day. Our pediatrician’s nurse called to tell me that Mary, my oldest daughter, had scoliosis. I remember feeling scared and very emotional. I actually was in tears at one point. It was hard to imagine what the future might hold.

Fast forward to 2012, and I realize that call was the beginning of a rollercoaster ride. Now I really don’t like rollercoasters, but thanks to the specialists at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, the ride actually has been OK. As a family, we’ve learned to handle the ups …Continue reading →

My advice for kids living with scoliosis: Just be yourself

My name is Mary, and I have scoliosis. I was diagnosed with it a few years ago. I wear my brace during the day now, but I used to wear one at night. Wearing a brace has affected my life in many ways, but don’t worry. You can still be the same you even with scoliosis.

I’m 14 years old and a freshman at Hampshire High School, in Hampshire, Ill. Let me tell you a little about myself. I love to read, and I love cats. I have one cat named C.C., and she is the cutest thing ever!

During this past school year, I got a daytime brace. Don’t be afraid to tell your teachers and …Continue reading →

Why the right throwing skills are important for young athletes

Baseball is known as America’s pastime. There’s a small park close to my house, and sometimes I can hear people cheering during games. It’s great to hear them out there having fun.

I played baseball growing up too. When we’d get worn down, our coach might say things like, “No pain, no gain, or just tough it out!” Today young athletes are more serious about competition than ever before. As a pediatric sports medicine specialist, I often tell kids and …Continue reading →