Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that can cause back pain and slightly altered posture. It most commonly affects children from infancy to adolescence, worsening during growth spurts. Left untreated, scoliosis can be severely debilitating. Fortunately, various treatments for scoliosis exist that can restore the spine towards its normal shape.
Our orthopedic surgeons at the Spine Surgery Center of Excellence in Beverly Hills are leading experts in their field and formulate individualized treatment plans for patients with various spine conditions. Patients who opt to visit our world-renowned facilities receive an unparalleled quality of service and care. They will benefit from our knowledge and expertise in the very latest scoliosis treatments.
Everyone’s spine has a natural curvature. However, patients with scoliosis have a more extreme curvature, which can become “C” or “S” shaped. Scoliosis typically produces middle and lower back pain, though other symptoms may include:
- Tired feeling in the spine after sitting/standing
- Uneven hips
- Slumped or uneven shoulder height
- Breathing problems (in severe scoliosis)
When visiting a doctor for spine pain, typically in younger children, the first step will be to perform a physical. After having the patient bend over to produce an outline of the spine, the sugeon may be able to determine whether or not it is aligned. Following a physical, X-ray or MRI imaging is conducted on the spine to confirm scoliosis and the extent of curvature.
Scoliosis treatment largely depends on the age of the patient and the extent of curvature of the spine. If caught early, there is potential for scoliosis to be treated through non-surgical means. A back brace can be used to help limit the worsening of scoliosis during growth spurts. Back braces typically work best for patients over the age of 10.
For some patients, surgical correction of scoliosis may be the best option. The goal of scoliosis surgery is to restore the spine as close to its normal curvature as possible. Based on the exact curve of the spine, Dr. Ozoa will make an incision in the back, side, or belly area. Next, the surgeon will fix a metal rod onto either side of the vertebral bones in the spine.
Finally, the surgeon uses a bone graft from the patient’s hip to fuse the vertebrae within the corrected region of the spine. With the rods holding the spine in place, the bone grafts can grow in place and ensure a straightening of the spine. Post-surgery recovery includes physical rehabilitation coupled with the use of a back brace to stabilize the spine. Most are able to resume all pre-operative activities within 4 months.
Expectations for Scoliosis
The outlook for scoliosis patients depends on the severity of the curvature of the spine and how it is treated. Most patients with mild scoliosis detected at a young age can receive non-surgical treatment with few, if any long-term problems. Patients undergoing scoliosis surgery, particularly those who have severe cases of scoliosis, can see dramatic reduction in back pain and improvement in other symptoms such as breathing problems.
Scoliosis Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can I catch scoliosis in its earliest stages?
A: Routine screenings for signs of scoliosis are often performed in elementary or middle schools. Ask your child’s school administration if they conduct scoliosis screening. If not, your health care provider can perform diagnostic tests if your child is experiencing symptoms of scoliosis.
Q: At what point should I consider scoliosis surgery?
A: Typically, scoliosis surgery is performed if the curvature of the spine is greater than 45 degrees. One of the surgeons at the Spine Surgery Center of Excellence can measure the curvature of the back through X-ray or MRI imaging. However, if breathing problems or other serious symptoms resulting from the condition, surgical correction may be necessary.
Q: What treatment should I expect with mild or moderate scoliosis?
A: For patients with spinal curvature from 25-40 degrees, a back brace may be used to slowly correct the abnormality over time. Routine physical exams and diagnostic imaging will be conducted to ensure that the scoliosis is not getting worse. In most mild cases, surgery is not needed.
Contact Us Today
If you or your child are suffering from scoliosis, schedule a consultation with one of the surgeons at the Spine Surgery Center of Excellence at (888) 564-1419.
Learn more about our spine treatments.