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Orthopaedic Surgery

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Conditions We Treat: Skeletal Dysplasia

Skeletal dysplasia is an umbrella term for more than 400 conditions that affect cartilage growth and bone development. Our pediatric specialists can help address a variety of orthopaedic issues common in children with skeletal dysplasia.

Skeletal Dysplasia Treatment: Why Choose Johns Hopkins

Dr. Paul Sponseller with a model of the spine
  • Our team has experience with most forms of skeletal dysplasia, from achondroplasia and thanatophoric dysplasia to Goldenhar’s syndrome and osteogenesis imperfecta.
  • We carefully monitor your child as he or she grows to treat any orthopaedic issues that may arise. This can include casting, bracing and minor and major surgery.
  • If your child requires surgery, we carefully plan the order and timing of procedures so that as your child grows, he or she can spend less time in the hospital and more time enjoying childhood.
  • Our orthopaedic surgeons are experienced in guided growth surgeries, as well as complex deformity correction procedures that require unique expertise.
  • Through our multidisciplinary approach to care, we work closely with experts from the Greenberg Center for Skeletal Dysplasia, the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and our colleagues in neurosurgery and genetics to help coordinate other aspects of your child’s care and reduce the need for travel.
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How We Can Help

Our team of pediatric orthopaedic experts treats many skeletal issues brought on by skeletal dysplasia, including:

  • Spine conditions: scoliosis, kyphosis, spondylosis, spinal stenosis, vertebral fractures and spine instability
  • Hip and leg deformities: hip dysplasia/dislocation, knock-knees (genu valgum), bow legs (genu varum), joint instability and limb length discrepancy
  • Foot and ankle conditions: clubfoot, flat feet and ankle deformities
  • Hand and arm conditions: thumb and finger deformities, joint contractures, bowing deformity
  • Whole-body issues: joint stiffness and pain, premature arthritis, loose ligaments and dislocations

Skeletal Reconstruction | Owen's Story

At a very young age, Owen was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that severely affected his bones. Owen had advanced scoliosis and twisting in his legs, knees and feet that made walking challenging. But Owen’s parents were determined to help their son get the medical care he needed to live a life with fewer limitations. Their search led them to Johns Hopkins, where pediatric orthopaedic surgeon Paul Sponseller knew how to approach Owen’s complex condition.

Skeletal Dysplasia Treatment Options

Finding out that your child has skeletal dysplasia can be overwhelming. Our treatment approach focuses on helping you understand your child’s unique orthopaedic challenges and the best ways to address them.

There are a variety of nonsurgical treatment options for skeletal dysplasia that will depend on the type of dysplasia your child has. They may include bracing, growth hormone therapy, medications and physical therapy.

However, in some cases surgery may be needed to correct deformed bones and improve your child’s comfort and quality of life as he or she gets older. Surgical procedures may include:

  • Soft tissue releases for joint contractures
  • Clubfoot or flat foot reconstruction
  • Guided growth for knee bowing or mild limb length differences
  • Leg lengthening or shortening for significant limb length discrepancy
  • Hip or knee reconstruction for instability or deformity
  • Spinal decompression and stabilization
  • Scoliosis and kyphosis correction
  • Joint replacement

Our Skeletal Dysplasia Experts

Photo of Dr. Paul David Sponseller, M.D.

Sponseller, Paul David, M.D.

Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Achondroplasia, Blount's Disease, Cerebral Palsy, Fractures, Hip Dislocations, Hip Dysplasia, Kyphosis, Leg Length Inequality, Marfan Syndrome, Orthopaedic Surgery, Orthopaedics, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Osteomyelitis, Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, Pediatric Orthopaedics, Pediatric Spinal Deformity, Scoliosis, Skeletal Dysplasias, Spina Bifida, Spinal Fixation, Spinal Fusion, Spine and Spinal Deformities, Spondylolisthesis, Spondylosis

mary teresa yostMary Teresa (Tresie) Yost, Nurse Practitioner

Patient Resources

Learn more about different types of skeletal dysplasia in our health library:

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