For children with rare orthopedic conditions, accessing care is a challenge. But with the recent addition of orthopedic surgeon Maegen Wallace, MD, MBA, Phoenix Children’s is helping families across the Southwest get expert care for osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), or brittle bone disease, and other conditions.

“OI care in the eastern part of the U.S. and the Midwest is quite good,” explains Dr. Wallace, who is one of the busiest OI surgeons in the country, operating on over 70 patients yearly. “But there weren’t any big centers in the Southwest.”

Children with OI are often born with fractures and suffer a lot of broken bones throughout childhood. “The surgeries and interventions that I can do make it so that they have less fractures,” she says. “They can be more like a kid when they aren’t worrying about broken bones all the time.”

When Dr. Wallace arrived at Phoenix Children’s in September 2023, her priority was to launch a multidisciplinary OI clinic. The twice-monthly clinic started in November and has since filled quickly and may soon increase frequency as a result of this early success.

“I think there are a lot more kids in Arizona with OI than anyone even realized,” Dr. Wallace says. “With our dedicated clinic, those patients have a place to come.” In the calendar year prior to Dr. Wallace’s arrival, Phoenix Children’s surgeons conducted three OI surgeries. In just a few short months, she quadrupled that number as families traveled from all over the country to see her.

In addition to her clinical and surgical expertise, Dr. Wallace is contributing to important OI research, including a National Institutes of Health–funded, multisite longitudinal study as well as a pharmaceutical trial for a drug that shows promise in increasing bone density in children with OI.

Philanthropy not only allows Phoenix Children’s to recruit acclaimed physicians like Dr. Wallace, but it can also help patients access better care.

“If you have a rare disease like OI and you don’t have access to good multispecialty care because it’s not available in your state or you don’t have the means to get it, then philanthropy can help kids gain access to the care they deserve,” Dr. Wallace says. “A lot of families have to travel. If we can help with travel support or care navigation while they’re here, those families are super grateful.”

Specialized Care for Growing Bones

Find out how Phoenix Children's is advancing pediatric orthopedic care at the Herbert J. Louis Center for Pediatric Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.

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