What patients and families need to know
Spinal Fusion Surgical Home
Coordinated Care, Faster Recovery
Our multispecialty team created the spinal fusion surgical home with multiple resources to make surgery and recovery easier on patients and families.
Children’s National is the first hospital in the nation offering a pediatric spinal fusion surgical home. This innovative new approach helps us deliver safe, effective and family-centered care. From pre-surgical testing through your child’s procedure and recovery, our experts work side by side to seamlessly coordinate every aspect of your child’s care.
Spinal Fusion Surgical Home at Children’s National
We are transforming the way we deliver care for complex procedures, such as spine straightening surgery (posterior spinal fusion), using a unique care model developed right here at Children’s National.
In our first six months, we achieved the following outcomes:
- Shorter length of stay: Our coordinated approach means we are able to deliver care more efficiently and has helped us decrease length of stay from approximately five days to three and a half days. Maintaining a short length of stay allows your child to come home just as soon as it is medically safe to do so.
- Decreased infection rate: Thanks to robust infection control procedures developed by our team, we maintain extraordinarily low infection rates. Although infections are rare, they can make your child very sick and complicate his or her recovery.
- Less use of narcotic (opioid) pain medications: Opioid medications such as morphine and oxycondone work with your child’s brain and nerves to relieve pain. They can also be hard on the liver, affect your child’s mood, and cause uncomfortable side effects, such as constipation. Our dedicated pediatric anesthesiologists help your child stay comfortable after surgery using the least necessary amount of opioid pain medications.
Spinal Fusion Surgical Home: What to Expect
Starting when your child is diagnosed, all of our physicians, nurses and therapists work together toward the same goal: to make your child’s spinal fusion procedure as safe, effective and efficient as possible.
Posterior spinal fusion is a common but complex surgical treatment for children with idiopathic scoliosis. The procedure involves permanently connecting (fusing) bones (vertebrae) over the curved part of the spine. Your child may need this procedure if other spinal treatments fail to stop the curve from worsening.
If posterior spinal fusion is right for your child, he or she automatically becomes part of our surgical home program. Here’s what to expect:
Before Your Child’s Fusion Procedure (Pre-operative Care)
- We help you schedule your child’s procedure and any necessary pre-operative tests or office visits through our Pre-Operative Care Clinic.
- You and your child attend a special class for spinal fusion patients and families. Here you learn more about the procedure and meet members of our team.
- If your child require preoperative halo-gravity traction, we will discuss this treatment option. Learn more.
After Your Child’s Fusion Procedure (Post-operative Care)
- Your child is monitored by pediatric nurse practitioners who specialize in orthopaedics and pediatric post-operative care.
- Our pain team helps your child remain as comfortable as possible using safe levels of pain medication.
- Your child receives therapy to help him or her ease back in to daily tasks and activities, such as getting dressed and walking up stairs.
- We teach you and your family about your child’s daily care needs. We want you feel confident about taking on tasks such as helping your child out of bed.
Follow up Care after Leaving the Hospital (Discharge)
- You receive a post-discharge follow-up call from one of our nurses.
- If you have questions at any other time, you can call our Orthopaedic Clinic Nurse Line at 202-476-5562 or orthopaedic nurse practitioners at 202-476-3399.
- Your child receives outpatient care at one of our orthopaedic clinic locations.
For more information about spinal fusion surgery, including videos about life after posterior spinal fusion, see our resources for families.
For more information or to make an appointment, call us at 202-476-2112.