Scoliosis

Scoliosis is an unnatural curvature in the spine. The spine does have normal curves from front to back that help with balance. The curves of scoliosis are side to side, away from the middle of the body.

Symptoms

Shoulders, ribs, hips at different heights, uneven waistline, head not in line with pelvis, body leans to one side. Back pain and/or neck pain.

About this Condition

Scoliosis is an unnatural curvature in the spine. The spine does have normal curves from front to back that help with balance. The curves of scoliosis are side to side, away from the middle of the body.

Scoliosis occurs most often in adolescent girls, although boys may also develop the condition. The cause is unknown, but the spinal curvatures may arise with a growth spurt. They are generally painless and develop gradually.

  • Idiopathic Adolescent scoliosis most often occurs in adolescent girls, although boys may also develop this condition.  The cause is unknown, but the spinal curvatures may arise with a growth spurt.  They are generally painless and develop gradually.
  • Degenerative scoliosis occurs in older patients as the spine responds to arthritic changes.

There are two other causes of scoliosis, which are seen much less often:

  • Congenital scoliosis, or scoliosis that is present at birth and caused by problems with the formation of the vertebrae
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis caused by poor muscle control or muscle weakness, often due to diseases such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida

 

 

 

[Source: Medtronic]

This content is for your general education only. See your doctor for a professional diagnosis and to discuss an appropriate treatment plan.

Conservative Treatments

Observation

Adolescent scoliosis with a curvature of less than 20 degrees generally requires no treatment. The individual should be re-evaluated approximately every six months.

Bracing

Bracing may be recommended as the curve gets worse, at about 25 to 30 degrees. A brace will help slow the development of the curve, but it will not reverse the curve that already exists. Bracing alone works very well in these cases.

Untreated, severe scoliosis may lead to respiratory problems, spinal cord damage and nerve damage.

Surgery

Anterior Fusion

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is a spine surgery that involves approaching the spine from the front (anterior) of the body to remove all or part of a disc from in between two adjacent vertebrae (interbody) in the lower back (lumbar spine), then fusing, or joining together, the vertebrae on either side of the remaining disc space using bone graft or bone graft substitute.
The graft material acts as a binding medium and also helps maintain normal disc height – as the body heals, the vertebral bone and bone graft eventually grow together and stabilize the spine. Instrumentation, such as rods, screws, plates, cages, hooks and wire also may be used to create an “internal cast” to support the vertebral structure during the healing process.

Depending on your condition and your surgeon’s training, experience and preferred methodology, an ALIF may be done alone or in conjunction with another spinal fusion approach. Please discuss your fusion approach options thoroughly with your doctor to learn which is most appropriate for your particular condition.

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[Source: Medtronic]

Posterior Fusion

Following a discectomy, laminectomy or other surgery that involves removing portions of one or more vertebrae to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, fusion instrumentation and bone grafting are used to stabilize the spine. Metal or non-metal instrumentation is put in place to hold the vertebrae together as the bone graft grows and fuses the vertebrae. These implants include rods, plates and screws that are left in place after the surgery. Bone grafts may be placed on the outside of the two vertebrae or between the vertebrae (interbody).

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Please keep in mind that all treatments and outcomes are specific to the individual patient. Results may vary. Complications, such as infection, blood loss, and bowel or bladder problems are some of the potential adverse risks of surgery. Please consult your physician for a complete list of indications, warnings, precautions, adverse events, clinical results and other important medical information.