Newswise — LOS ANGELES (March 19, 2021) -- David L. Skaggs, MD, MMM, has joined Cedars-Sinai as co-director of the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center, director of the Pediatric Orthopaedics Program and executive vice chair of the Department of Orthopaedics.

Skaggs will play a pivotal leadership role ensuring excellence in clinical care, research and innovation for the Spine Center and expand the existing Pediatric Orthopaedics Program at Cedars-Sinai.

"The opportunity to recruit Dr. Skaggs is an important step toward advancing our mission to provide the highest quality patient care," said Mark Vrahas, MD, chair of Cedars-Sinai Orthopaedics. "His leadership, clinical expertise, and dedication to research, innovation and education will enable us to improve treatment options for a range of spinal disorders and pediatric orthopaedic conditions and will insure our position as national leaders in these areas."

Skaggs joins Cedars-Sinai from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where he served as chief of Orthopaedic Surgery and director of Spine Surgery. Skaggs specializes in the treatment of children with spinal deformities and has pioneered many techniques for children with scoliosis, a sideways curve of the spine, and kyphosis, a forward rounding of the back, which leads to a hunchback or slouching posture.

“I am excited for my patients to be at Cedars-Sinai, a leading organization in innovative, safe and personal healthcare,” Skaggs said. “My goal is to provide easy access and family-centered care in partnership with top adult specialists, not only while our patients are children, but also as they transition through adulthood.”

Skaggs will be joined at the Spine Center by Elaine Butterworth, RN, who will serve as director of Patient Experience and Education for the Pediatric Spine Program.

Butterworth is an expert at conservative care of spine problems in children, utilizing advanced methods for scoliosis and kyphosis, including dynamic spinal bracing and specific exercises.

"One of our greatest joys is to watch an anxious adolescent with a deformity develop poise and self-confidence following surgery," Skaggs said of the continued teamwork alongside Butterworth.

Prior to joining Cedars-Sinai, Butterworth worked at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for 13 years, focusing on caring for children and young adults with spine disorders, as well as educating families and ensuring the best possible care.

“Together, nurse Butterworth and I have helped many of the country’s top gymnasts and competitive cheerleaders return to sports after otherwise career-ending spine injuries," Skaggs said. "Now, our patients will benefit even more from the most advanced robotic surgery, intra-operative, three-dimensional imaging, and an experienced minimally invasive surgical team.”

Skaggs trained at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and earned his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Additionally, Skaggs completed a pediatric orthopaedic and scoliosis fellowship at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and a fellowship in orthopaedic research at Columbia University. Skaggs also holds a master's degree in medical management from the USC Marshall School of Business.

"Neurosurgery and orthopaedic surgery can be synonymous when it relates to the spine,” said Keith Black, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai. "Now, with the addition of Dr. Skaggs, the collaboration between our departments will advance our pediatric spine program and enhance spine research and teaching."

A diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and a professor with tenure at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Skaggs has published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles and authored more than 30 highly cited chapters and textbooks in pediatric orthopaedics.

Skaggs is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has held leadership and advisory positions in the Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America, American Academy of Pediatrics, Scoliosis Association, Growing Spine Foundation, American Orthopaedic Association, Scoliosis Research Society, and the Pediatric Spine Study Group, and is frequently called to present on his areas of expertise nationally and internationally.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: COVID and Kids: What You Need to Know