Scoliosis is the condition of curvature of the spine. It can cause the spine to turn so that one shoulder, shoulder blade or hip is higher than the other. The cause of most types of scoliosis is not known, but often does run in families. Most often it is noticed in pre-teen or early teenage years. Scoliosis is found less often in babies or young children. Even rarer is congenital scoliosis, when a baby is born with bone deformities in the spine causing the scoliosis. Scoliosis does not usually cause pain or problems with daily functioning.
Diagnosis and Treatment:
- Physical examination is done to look at the child's spine and to check the function of nerves and muscles.
- X-rays are measured to see how much curvature of the spine is present. The amount of growth the child has left to do is also looked at when deciding a treatment plan.
- Observation at regular intervals is done for mild curves to check for any changes of the curvature.
- Bracing is used for curves around 25 degrees or more to try to stop the curve from getting worse.
- Surgery is usually recommended for curves around 50 degrees or more. If left untreated, the curves will generally get larger even through adulthood and could eventually affect lung function. Surgery involves placing rods into the spine, held to the spinal bones with hooks and screws to straighten the spine. Bone graft helps to make the spine fuse so that it will not curve any more.
We have worked closely with our colleagues in nursing, anesthesiology, physical therapy, nutrition services, and child life to develop a comprehensive program in caring for patients having a spine fusion. The program prepares our patients and their families for the care before surgery, during the hospital stay and at home after surgery.