Scoliosis is a lateral (toward the side) curvature in the normally straight vertical line of the spine. When viewed from the side, the spine should show a mild roundness in the upper back and shows a degree of swayback (inward curvature) in the lower back. Large curves tend to cause discomfort while the small curves do not cause any problems. Scoliosis can occur at any age and is more frequent in girls than boys.
Scoliosis can be categorized into four basic types depending on the age, cause and spinal curvature:
- Structural Scoliosis
- Non Structural Scoliosis
- Idiopathic Scoliosis (unknown cause)
Symptoms of scoliosis may include the following:
- Uneven shoulder- one shoulder is more prominent than the other
- Back Pain
- Head is not centered
- Abnormal curve of the spine
- Breathing Problems
Treatments for scoliosis include:
Bracing is the usual treatment choice for adolescents who have a spinal curve between 25 to 40 degrees — particularly if their bones are still maturing and if they have at least two years of growth remaining. The purpose of bracing is to halt progression of the curve. It may provide a temporary correction, but usually the curve will assume its original magnitude when bracing is eliminated.
Those who have curves beyond 40 to 50 degrees are often considered for scoliosis surgery. The goal is to make sure the curve does not get worse, but scoliosis surgery does not perfectly straighten the spine. During the procedure, metallic implants are utilized to correct some of the curvature and hold it in the correct position until a bone graft, placed at the time of the surgery, consolidates and creates a rigid fusion in the area of the curve. Scoliosis surgery usually involves joining the vertebrae together permanently — called spinal fusion. In young children, another technique that does not involve fusion may be used since fusion stops growth of the fused part of the spine. In this case, a brace must always be worn after surgery.
Scoliosis surgery is not necessarily your only option for treatment. Treatment of Scoliosis is based on the physician’s assessment of the spinal curve, its cause, the age of the patient, and how much more the patient may grow. Treatment options include: Observation and bracing. Scoliosis surgery is an option for individuals with severe scoliosis to stop the curve from getting worse. Scoliosis surgery repairs the abnormal curvature of the spine. There are different surgical approaches to repair the deformity, and the choice of the approach to the spine is based on the type of scoliosis, location of the curvature of the spine, ease of approach to the area of the curve and the preference of the surgeon.
- Anterior Approach
- Posterior Approach
- Anterior & Posterior Approach