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Contributed by Justin Mistovich, MD | Division Director of Pediatric Orthopaedics.

Scoliosis affects about six to nine million people in the United States with the majority of diagnoses happening in patients between 10 to 15 years old, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Justin Mistovich, MD Division Director of pediatric orthopedic surgery at MetroHealth, recently developed a groundbreaking 2-surgeon approach to pediatric scoliosis with his colleague Jonathan Belding, MD and it has been proven to provide better outcomes for patients.

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine and it is actually most often diagnosed in childhood or early adolescence. HealthCentral states that approximately three million new cases of the condition are diagnosed in the United States each year, with most being adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, occurring between ages 11 and 18. Idiopathic means that the cause of the curvature is unknown. Additionally, about 29,000 scoliosis surgeries are performed on adolescents annually in the United States.

The Two-Surgeon Approach

MetroHealth is currently performing cutting-edge pediatric spine surgery for children and teens with scoliosis thanks to doctors Mistovich and Belding, who created the region’s first dedicated two-attending approach to spinal deformity surgery.

“This is complex work,” said Dr. Mistovich. “So we just took the common-sense approach of having an established team and added an official ‘copilot’. Whether it’s flying a jet or spine surgery on children, complex work is best done as a team, and with a copilot where both of you have a specific role.”

The two-surgeon approach results in shorter operative times, less blood loss, shorter hospital stays after surgery, and results in better correction of the curvature when compared to a single surgeon approach.

Potential surgery patients are free to tour our new pediatric facility in the hospital as well as meet Dr. Mistovich, Dr. Belding and Julia LoPresti, PA-C. Both doctors and Ms. LoPresti are there for patients through the entire pre and post-operative process.

“We all share decision making to make sure we are developing the best individualized pre and post-operative course for all of the kids that shares each family’s goals,” said Dr. Mistovich.
How MetroHealth is Leading the Way

MetroHealth is using this technique in a unique way compared to other hospitals. While some hospitals will consider this for their most severe and most complex cases, MetroHealth is the only hospital in the region utilizing this two-surgeon approach for every scoliosis case.

Not only do we offer this, but MetroHealth also uses, and invented, neuromonitoring, the standard technique used internationally to monitor the spinal cord health and function during surgery. We also use intraoperative navigation, allowing surgeons to combine their knowledge of anatomy with a 3-dimensional guide of each patient’s spine to maximize safety during surgery.

“Dr. Belding and I have been invited to present our work at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Annual Meeting,” said Dr. Mistovich. “We are so thrilled we can provide such an effective solution for our young patients.”

We’re proud to offer world class spinal deformity surgery at MetroHealth to our Cleveland kids and their families.

To schedule an appointment for a pediatric orthopedics consult, please call 216-778-1927 or visit


Justin Mistovich, MD

Division Director of Pediatric Orthopaedics