Why choose us?

Choosing who will perform your child’s complex spine surgery is a huge decision. Our experts will help make that decision easier. We care for children with the most challenging spine conditions through the UW Health Kids Complex Spine Clinic.

Our team collaborates to optimize the safety of our patients while seeking new ways to utilize robotic-assisted and minimally invasive techniques in spine surgery. We use the latest technologies to alleviate pain, discomfort and movement limitations for your child. Spine specialists from pediatric orthopedic surgery and pediatric neurosurgery work together to provide your child’s care. We also offer education and resources for parents and caregivers.

When to see a pediatric orthopedic surgeon or pediatric neurosurgeon

Your child might need to see a pediatric orthopedic surgeon or pediatric neurosurgeon if:

  • Their spine condition is causing unusual back pain that may be accompanied by fever, weakness, numbness, bowel or bladder problems, or problems walking

  • Physical therapy, medication, or home exercises have not corrected their spinal condition

  • Their condition affects two or more areas of the spinal column (neck, mid-back, lower back)

  • There is a noticeable deformity of the spine – asymmetry in the shoulder or waist or a rounded upper back

  • Your child has been diagnosed with one of the following: Scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, kyphosis, cervical spine disorders, spinal tumors, spinal trauma, spinal infection, congenital spine syndromes, achondroplasia, Down syndrome, Marfan spine, Morquio syndrome

Please speak with your child's primary care physician to arrange a referral to our program. Currently, we do not accept self-referrals from patients.

Getting a referral

How to ask your primary care physician or current provider

If you think your child might benefit from complex spine surgery and you’ve tried other methods to alleviate discomfort or physical limitations in the past, the first step is to talk to your child's primary care provider.

Your primary care physician will follow a simple referral process to our program and will coordinate with us to share your child's medical records and any test results that may help us learn more about your child’s history.

Physicians can go to our Refer a Patient section for details on how to make a referral to UW Health.

How to prepare

Before your appointment at American Family Children's Hospital (virtually or in-person)

It would be helpful for our providers if you think about and write down a list of your biggest concerns. If your child had any studies done (labs, imaging, EEGs), or if your child has been put on any medications, please bring all of the information you can with you or ask your primary provider to send it to our clinic. This pre-review is an efficient way to help us make plans for your child ahead of time if and when you and your child need to come see us in person in the clinic or hospital.

Please know that our clinic is comprised of pediatric neurosurgeons, pediatric orthopedic surgeons and advanced practice providers who work very closely together. You might receive a first phone or video visit with an advanced practice provider, who will help our physicians by gathering essential information and then reviewing that information with our physicians. This pre-review helps bring your child's history to our physicians' attention earlier and helps us to make better plans for your child if and when you and your child need to come see us in person in the hospital or clinic.

Smiling child with sign reading UW Health Kids
UW Health Kids
Our pediatric experts have served the special needs of children for more than 100 years. We focus on each child’s unique needs and offer social and emotional support to help you and your child face even the most complex condition. Our long history includes the creation of medical advances that save lives around the world. Together, we get your child back to health and enjoying being a kid.

For providers

Information for referring providers

We ask referring providers to share the patient's brief history and copies of available imaging including X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans with our team. We will need the images themselves, not just the radiology reports. These can be imported virtually using ImageShare or by sending a disc with the images with the patient for their appointment at our facility.

  • Consult our how to Refer a Patient section

  • Complete and submit form online or print, complete and fax

  • Follow instructions for sending

  • Call the UW Health Kids Specialties Clinic at (608) 263-6420 with questions