Scoliosis - Curvature of the Spine
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. A healthy spine has natural front to back curves. Scoliosis is a condition that describes side to side curvatures of the spine, that often also involve rotational deformities. Some people are born with scoliosis, or it may result from neuromuscular conditions, osteoporosis, or for unknown reasons (idiopathic scoliosis).
Scoliosis is a progressive condition that can become worse over time. Untreated severe curvatures can cause medical complications. Scoliosis may be monitored or treated with back bracing or surgery.
Back bracing is appropriate for children with idiopathic scoliosis that are still growing, but it does not work well for those with congenital or neuromuscular scoliosis.
Surgery is usually required for spine curvatures that are greater than 40 degrees. Curves greater than 40 degrees have a high risk of getting worse, leading to potential complications. Spinal fusion surgery is used to correct the curve in the spine and connect the vertebrae together. The vertebrae are fused together with surgical hardware, such as rods and screws. Temporarily, a back brace may be worn while the spine heals. In some cases, additional surgeries may be necessary over time.