How Scottish Rite for Children has innovated pediatric orthopedics for a century

Every parent wants to see their child run, jump, play and make their greatest dreams come true. But every year, thousands of children are faced with orthopedic conditions that can affect their ability to do so. Fortunately for North Texas, Dallas is home to one organization dedicated to giving every child a chance for a boundless childhood.

Born of a critical need for pediatric orthopedic care in Texas, the Scottish Rite for Children’s story began nearly 100 years ago when Texas Masons approached Dallas’ first orthopedic surgeon, WB Carrell, MD, about providing free polio treatment to children.

Dr. Carrell started seeing 35 patients a week, but the caseload quickly grew out of the one-room clinic, as applications poured in from all over the state.

The Scottish Rite for Children’s story began nearly 100 years ago when Texas Masons approached WB Carrell, MD about providing free polio treatment to children. (Thanks to Scottish Rite for Children)

A mission to take care of children

From the beginning, Scottish Rite has transformed many aspects of patient care, research and education so that young patients can lead healthy and independent lives.

Scottish Rite experts have been constantly improving existing treatments and exploring new ones in the hope of doing what’s best for the patient’s comfort and recovery.

At the height of the polio crisis, the Scottish Rite adopted the Sister Kenny method, a leading treatment at the time. The organization cared for many children fighting polio until the discovery of a safe, effective vaccine in the 1950s that marked the beginning of the end of the epidemic.

From the beginning, Scottish Rite for Children has helped young patients lead healthy and independent lives, especially during the polio epidemic. (Thanks to Scottish Rite for Children)

Around the same time, community organizations, such as the Junior League of Dallas, began to dedicate their time to entertain young patients and support the medical endeavors with music therapy and art, sewing and woodworking instructions, laying the foundation for a holistic approach to care.

A revolution in the science of muscle, joint and bone healing

As more patients sought help, Scottish Rite for Children expanded its scope and evolved into its position as a leader in orthopedic diseases, congenital disorders and injuries.

Over the years, the organization has discovered new and innovative ways to treat scoliosis, clubfoot, hand conditions, hip conditions, sports injuries and fractures, as well as certain related arthritic and neurological conditions and learning disabilities, such as dyslexia.

In 1986, Scottish Rite researchers developed the TSRH® Spinal System, a surgical advance that eliminates the need for braces or casts after surgery and significantly reduces recovery time. It is now the most widely used implant system in the world for curvature and malformations of the spine.

Over the next decade, Scottish Rite specialists patented the TRUE / LOKTM External Fixation System. This innovative treatment uses correction planning software that allows surgeons to determine the safest placement for devices treating limb anomalies, deformities and traumatic injuries.

In May 2007, the director of basic research, Carol Wise, Ph.D., and her team published their discovery of the first gene associated with idiopathic scoliosis. Since this initial finding, the team has identified two more genes and continues to conduct innovative research to better understand early-onset scoliosis.

And the work continues.

As more patients sought help, Scottish Rite for Children expanded its scope and evolved into its position as a leader in orthopedic diseases, congenital disorders and injuries. (Thanks to Scottish Rite for Children)

In 2020, Scottish Rite had more than 100 active studies of treatment options on a number of topics, including partnerships between the rheumatology team and scientists from Weill Cornell Medicine and the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine to conduct a study of abnormal immune activity in lupus.

More recently, an international team of researchers led by Scottish Rite scientist Jonathan Rios, Ph.D., discovered a gene that contributes to clubfoot.

These discoveries are just one aspect of the institution’s global impact.

Scottish Rite also advances the field as an established educational institution with a full clinical training program. More than 190 fellows are graduates of the Scottish Rite’s Dorothy & Bryant Edwards Fellowship in Orthopedics and now practice in leading hospitals in the US and across six continents.

World leader in pediatric orthopedics

Today, the Scottish Rite continues to bring renewed hope to patients and families while also establishing Dallas as a destination for the best in pediatric care.

As Scottish Rite celebrates a century of exceptional patient care, the organization remains committed to being the world leader in pediatric orthopedics for the next 100 years. (Thanks to Scottish Rite for Children)

While Scottish Rite has a global impact, it is also ranked as one of the best places to work locally. The leading institution continually draws top talent to North Texas and its specialists are seen as at the forefront of their profession, receiving wide recognition for solving the world’s most complex orthopedic cases.

In 2013 and 2014, US News & World Report ranked Scottish Rite, in partnership with Children’s Medical Center Dallas and UT Southwestern Medical Center, as the # 1 pediatric orthopedic program in the country. Scottish Rite remains in the top five every year.

As the organization celebrates a century of exceptional patient care, Scottish Rite remains committed to being the world leader in pediatric orthopedics for the next 100 years.

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