Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate.
Ochsner Hospital for Children is the only facility in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to offer vertebral body tethering (VBT) – an innovative solution to treating scoliosis in pediatric patients that is less invasive than traditional surgical treatments.
Ochsner Hospital for Children’s Chief of Pediatric Orthopedic and Spine Surgeon Lawrence Haber, MD is one of a select number of physicians in the country who performs VBT. Additionally, Ochsner Hospital for Children was one of the first in the country to use a new device (known as The Tether™) for VBT approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in August 2019.
Dr. Haber has more than four years of experience with VBT and is committed to a minimally invasive approach, which uses small incisions to insert six to eight screws onto the part of the spine the curve points toward, also known as the convex side of the curve. A flexible tether is inserted into the screws, which are then pressed together, locking the cord into place. The tension created by the cord straightens the curve and regulates the growth of the spine.
VBT offers an alternative to traditional surgical procedures, resulting in a much shorter recovery time. Before VBT, patients underwent a spinal fusion surgery – an invasive procedure in which metal rods and screws are placed on both sides of the spine to correct the curvature. The metal rods used in a spinal fusion restricts a patient’s flexibility and there is a long recovery post-surgery.
An estimated six to nine million Americans are impacted by scoliosis – a curve in the spine that can present itself at any age, but is much more common in teens and pre-teens. In young children, making sure the spine stays straight enough for lung development is most important. In older children, the biggest concern is the actual deformity it causes. Depending on the severity of the sideways curve of the spine, traditional treatment options for scoliosis included bracing, casting, therapy and surgery.
Haber says, “Vertebral body tethering is a gamechanger when it comes to caring for pediatric patients with severe curves in their spine. We’re able to deliver dramatic, life changing results with less recovery time and scarring. Embracing this innovative procedure is one of many ways Ochsner Hospital for Children is investing in the future and wellbeing of our patients.”
Originally from Texas, Dr. Haber has more than 20 years’ experience and is a nationally-recognized pediatric spine surgeon. Dr. Haber holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University and attended medical school at Texas Tech University. He completed orthopedic training at the Medical College of Virginia and completed a Pediatric Orthopedic Fellowship at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Haber served as chief of pediatric orthopedic surgery for more than a decade at the University of Mississippi Medical Center prior to joining the team at Ochsner Hospital for Children in 2016.
In addition to introducing VBT, Ochsner’s orthopedic services recently grew with the opening of the new Ochsner Hospital for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine – a 58,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility specifically designed for orthopedic and sports medicine surgery. Located at 1221 S. Clearview Pkwy., Ochsner Hospital for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine underwent extensive renovations, which began in October 2017.
Ochsner’s commitment to patient care continues to be recognized nationally. For the third year in a row, Ochsner Hospital for Children has been named among the top 50 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in hospital rankings and consumer advice. Ochsner Hospital for Children was recognized in two specialties, cardiology and heart surgery and gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery.
For more information about Ochsner Hospital for Children visit www.ochsner.org/services/pediatrics. For more information about pediatric orthopedic services at Ochsner visit https://www.ochsner.org/services/pediatric-orthopedics.
About Ochsner Health System
Ochsner Health is Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner's 40 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and specialty hospitals, and more than 100 health centers and urgent care centers. Ochsner is the #1 ranked hospital in Louisiana by U.S. News & World Report and is recognized as a “Best Hospital” across two specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 70 countries worldwide each year. Ochsner Hospital for Children is the only facility in Louisiana to be recognized as a top 50 children’s hospital by U.S. News & World Report for three consecutive years. Ochsner employs nearly 25,000 employees and over 4,500 employed and affiliated physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts more than 700 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.