Scoliosis is an abnormal curve in the spine. Though the spine features normal curves when looking from the side, it should appear straight when viewed from the front. The spine of a person who is suffering from scoliosis appears to be curved when viewed from front or back. Indicators of scoliosis include: an uneven curvature on one side of the spine, uneven hips, and/or an arm or leg length discrepancy.
Although scoliosis is typically not painful, certain curvatures do cause back pain. In extreme cases, physical activities might be aversively affected.
(Left) An adolescent with thoracic idiopathic scoliosis on the right side. (Center) Her rib prominence is more obvious when bending forward. (Right) This x-ray of her spine clearly shows the right thoracic curve.
Courtesy of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
Braces: Bracing is a possible solution for adolescents with spinal curves ranging from 25 degrees to 40 degrees and who are still in their growing years. Bracing helps to stop the progression of the curve. It is a temporary solution and will stop the spine from curving only while bracing is implemented.
Surgery: Scoliosis surgery is suggested for people who have curves beyond 20 degrees to 50 degrees, depending on the associated symptoms and clinical picture. Surgery may not perfectly straighten the spine but it is designed to stop progression. Often, metallic implants are used to correct the curvature and hold the spine in the correct position. The surgery joins the vertebrae permanently, also known as spinal fusion.
Fellowship trained in advanced, complex spinal deformity at the world famous University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Shah delivers excellent nonoperative and operative treatments for scoliosis. Contact Dr. Shah and the team at the Premier Orthopaedic Assoicates for the expert and personalized care of your scoliosis.