When Your Child Needs an Orthopedic Specialist

January 04, 2019
When Your Child Needs an Orthopedic Specialist

Michael Lago, MD, specializes in fractures, breaks and many other issues related to the spine, bones and joints.

If you’ve ever broken or fractured a bone, you know it is important to get it treated quickly. For children, prompt and appropriate treatment of fractures and breaks is even more important because they are still growing, and if not addressed quickly and properly, problems could occur down the road.

Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon and Scoliosis Specialist Michael T. Lago, MD, treats a wide range of orthopedic conditions, including scoliosis evaluation and surgery, spinal disorders and pain in the back, hips and lower extremities; ankle instability; bowed legs, knock knees, flat/club foot; dislocations, fractures and breaks, among others.

He says the usual injuries he sees in children are fractures of the upper and lower extremities. “About 50 percent of the time, we can cast it, but the other 50 percent of injuries will require surgery,” he says. “The X-ray shows us what we are dealing with. Wrist and forearm fractures can be treated with a cast, but ankles, elbows and femurs, which is the thigh bone, usually need surgery to repair the break or fracture.”

Beyond Breaks and Fractures

Dr. Lago says there is more to orthopedics than breaks and fractures. Scoliosis is a common condition he treats. “It is a curvature in the spine that can happen during a growth spurt around the ages of 10-12. For the most part, having the child wear braces to straighten the spine usually works, but there are a few cases that require surgery,” he says. There are several different types, so treatment is dependent upon what Dr. Lago finds during testing.

Another problem Dr. Lago treats is “knock knees” or “bow legs.” He says this condition is related to a growth plate issue in younger children, and they either outgrow it or he can treat it with an outpatient procedure.

He also takes care of athletes such as gymnasts, dancers, football players and teen weightlifters, who can put repeated stress on their lower backs. Sometimes a stress fracture develops in one of the vertebrae, causing it to shift out of place in the spine. “In mild cases, I recommend physical therapy. But sometimes surgery is needed in more severe cases,” he says.

The Importance of a Children's Hospital in the Valley

Dr. Lago says the specialty services offered at South Texas Health System Children’s are a big advantage to the Rio Grande Valley community. He explains he gets referrals from primary care physicians, pediatricians and the emergency room. “Since I have been here, I have seen the positive impact made in the lives of children,” he says. “Whether it be treating a child in the ER, fixing a growth plate issue or casting a fracture or break, they are getting the care they need in a prompt and efficient manner.”

Dr. Lago says that he specialized in pediatric orthopedics because he has a soft spot for kids and is passionate about caring for them. He says his job is very rewarding. “I love it when the kids come back and see me with smiles on their faces, and they give me high- fives,” he says. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to give them a chance at a more normal life.”

Meet Michael T. Lago, MD

Dr. Lago is an orthopedic surgeon who treats various disorders of the musculoskeletal system in children and adults, with a focus on pediatric skeletal deformities and interest in general orthopedic trauma.

He received his undergraduate degree from Florida State University, and his medical degree from The University of Texas at Houston. His orthopedic residency training was at the University of South Florida. Dr. Lago completed a pediatric orthopedic fellowship at The University of Utah and Shriners Hospital, where he received specialized training in surgery of the pediatric spine and hip. He is a board-eligible orthopedic surgeon, and is fluent in English and Spanish.

Office: 4302 South Sugar Road, Suite 102, Edinburg