Scoliosis is a condition characterized by an abnormal curvature of the backbone or the spine, in which the spine has a C-shape or S-shape, rather than a straight vertical line from the neck down to the buttocks. In most cases, an orthopedic surgeon can offer relief to those suffering with this often painful and debilitating disease. Learn more below:
Scoliosis usually develops during childhood before the onset of puberty; however, the condition may not be diagnosed until patients reach their teenage years. While the causes of scoliosis are often unknown for most patients, causes may include:
- Congenital birth defects
- Diseases of the muscles and nerves, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy
- Spinal tumors
- Muscle imbalance
Some risk factors associated with scoliosis include age, delayed puberty or menstrual cycles, and a family history of scoliosis.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of scoliosis may include:
- Prominent shoulder blades or ribs
- Uneven shoulders
- Uneven waist
- Leaning to one side
- An elevated hip
Scoliosis may also cause chronic back pain if left untreated for several years. In addition, severe cases of scoliosis may lead to breathing difficulty due to pressure on the heart and lungs.
The treatment options for scoliosis vary based on the severity of the condition. For example, mild cases of scoliosis in which the curve is less than 20 degrees may only require observation every 3-6 months. Individuals whose curve is more than 20 degrees and are still growing may benefit from a back brace, as this can prevent the curves from getting worse. Severe cases of scoliosis in which the curvature exceeds 40-50 degrees may require surgery by an orthopedic surgeon. During the procedure, the surgeon will typically fuse the vertebra of the spine together or use internal rods to decrease spinal curvature.
The best way to determine the appropriate treatment method for scoliosis is to schedule a consultation with a spine specialist. Our orthopedic surgeons with Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center of Las Vegas use minimally invasive, state-of-the-art surgical techniques to provide optimal results with shorter recovery times. Learn more about your options by contacting us at (702) 880-2100.