At Nemours we focus on treating the whole child, not just the condition – a philosophy stretching throughout our organization, including our Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Nemours Children’s Hospital. Pediatric orthopedists at Nemours Children’s Hospital are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopaedic conditions and injuries in children of all ages.
Our team’s approach is simple – provide expert care, and interdisciplinary care when needed. This method is easier for patients, families and care teams at Nemours as the expertise of specialists from multiple disciplines is readily available. Following this approach is crucial for children with complex disorders or challenging conditions. For instance, children with cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy have surgeons, medical specialists, nurses, child life experts, nutritionists and other pediatric caregivers working as one team, under one roof – a unique advantage Nemours Children’s Hospital brings to Central Florida.
Currently, examples of major pediatric orthopaedic conditions treated at Nemours Children’s Hospital are clubfoot, muscular dystrophy and scoliosis. In a special clubfoot clinic for children, we are using the minimally invasive Ponseti method to treat this congenital condition. As opposed to traditional treatments, the Ponseti method is not painful for the child and is less invasive. The average cast treatment lasts two to three months, and studies show almost all feet can be corrected without major surgery. Also, the Ponseti method helps avoid some of the once-common issues of long-term scarring and stiffness.
For children with Muscular Dystrophy, Nemours Children’s Hospital offers Central Florida’s only Muscular Dystrophy Clinic. The ultimate goal is to improve muscle and joint function and slow muscle deterioration to enable patients to live as actively and independently as possible. Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine, and can be managed with observation, bracing or surgery. If surgery is needed, a team of specialists is available at Nemours to provide safe, high quality surgery, anesthesia and peri-operative care following evidence-based protocols.
Other conditions treated include: children’s fractures, hip dysplasia, benign and malignant musculoskeletal tumors, limb deformities and skeletal dysplasias. Along with medical care and specialist referrals, our patients receive emotional and psychological support to help cope with and manage their condition. The most advanced imaging services are available in the orthopaedic clinic and our hospital, with every effort made to minimize radiation exposure for our patients. Additionally, Nemours can arrange for genetic counseling and therapy, and rehabilitation services.
A major emphasis in the pediatric orthopaedic care provided at Nemours is the approach to practicing evidence-based medicine. At Nemours, research trials are used to examine the effectiveness of various treatment methods. The information is then processed and shared across the organization through our electronic records system, creating a platform to elevate care for all of our patients. Currently, Nemours Children’s Hospital orthopaedic researchers are investigating bracing protocols for children with clubfoot and a possible genetic connection in clubfoot, protocols for management of elbow fractures in children, as well as the orthopaedic management of patients with an uncommon bone disease called fibrous dysplasia.
Maintaining up-to-date electronic medical records for all patients is key at Nemours. Our team believes this is imperative, so referring or primary physicians stay informed of their patients’ diagnosis and progress in real-time. NemoursLink, our secure EMR application, connects all phases of a child’s care – inpatient, outpatient and referring physician’s offices through a secure, online environment. Using a special physician portal, primary and referring physicians can securely access their patients’ information and monitor a child’s progress any time, day or night, to stay abreast of treatment provided by Nemours.
Also, Nemours Children’s Hospital has designed a patient-flow system to ensure physicians have time for fracture patients, walk-ins and same or next-day appointments. The Nemours Children’s Hospital referral line is 407- 650-7715 or 855-KID-ADMIT. Additionally, the orthopaedic clinic can be reached directly at 407-650-7616.
A future goal for the Orthopaedic Department at Nemours Children’s Hospital is to build a Sports Medicine Center, similar to the facility at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE. This type of Center reinforces the interdisciplinary approach Nemours takes – providing proper nutrition, prevention, rehabilitation, athletic training, concussion-recognition management, leading-edge surgery and return-to-play readiness- all in one place.
Beginning in 1940 in Delaware, Nemours has been setting the standards for orthopaedic procedures for children who are born with or develop bone, joint, muscle and nerve conditions. By expanding the organization’s geographic reach, to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida, the orthopaedic care Nemours provides is more advanced and available to more children than ever before.
It is an exciting time to work in health care, especially in Lake Nona Medical City, as Nemours Children’s Hospital and our Medical City neighbors are strenuously working to revolutionize health care for patients in central Florida and beyond. Nemours currently has a relationship with the University of Central Florida Medical School and looks forward to building a pediatric residency program, as well as fellowships in pediatric subspecialties like orthopaedics.
Nemours is committed to offering procedural and technological excellence alongside the latest in clinical research and training. At Nemours Children’s Hospital we strive to provide the highest-quality care in a family-centered environment, and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is committed to becoming a nationally recognized center of excellence.
Steven L. Frick, MD, Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Fla. He joined Nemours Children’s Hospital from Carolinas Medical Center and Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, NC, where he served as a faculty member of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Orthopaedic Residency Program Director. He is a highly regarded expert in orthopaedics with clinical and research interests in congenital clubfoot, hip dysplasia, limb deformities, neuromuscular diseases, and musculoskeletal trauma. A dedicated educator and clinician, Dr. Frick is also a respected researcher and lecturer, and has published or co-authored more than 50 articles and book chapters. Additionally, the American Orthopaedic Association honored him as a North American Traveling Fellow and an American-British-Canadian Traveling Fellow.
By Steven L. Frick, MD