Scoliosis is a potentially serious illness that could precipitate significant health and mobility problems in stricken individuals. In certain instances, surgery may be the best option to remedy the ailment. This brief blog will provide a brief overview of the condition, as well as examine persons who would be the most suitable candidates for surgeries and specific surgical procedures.
Scoliosis impacts the spine. Afflicted persons experience an abnormal curving of the spinal column. In many instances, the malady strikes pre-pubescent children. As said young people undergo growth spurts, their spines grow erratically. However, the disease can be seen in adults as well.
In some cases, physicians and medical researchers cannot identify one specific cause for this condition. That said, the disease might be seen in individuals stricken with neuromuscular diseases like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries or underlying illnesses impacting the spine. The greatest risk factors are age (as previously stated, the malady is often witnessed in young persons experiencing growth spurts, family history (scoliosis is often seen in families and sex (girls typically become afflicted with the more serious manifestations requiring aggressive treatment options).
The physical manifestations of scoliosis may be subtle. This is especially true in persons with mild forms of the ailment. However, when symptoms do appear, you or your child might experience occurrences such as:
- Shoulder slumping
- Uneven shoulders and waists
- One hip appearing higher than the other
- One side of the entire body sticks out from the other
In severe cases, scoliosis can precipitate more significant health problems like chronic back pain or damage to the heart and lungs caused by the curved spine pressing against the rib cage and other internal structures.
Scoliosis is typically diagnosed following a thorough physical examination employing neurological tests and imaging scans such as X-rays. If scoliosis is suspected, a doctor will consider the most appropriate treatment options after considering certain factors including:
- You or your child’s age
- The progression of the curve
- The curvature’s pattern
- Where within the spine is the curvature occurring?
- If your child has completed a growth spurt
Mild manifestations of the illness might not necessitate immediate treatment. However, in more severe cases, the application of a brace may be indicated. These full body structures halt scoliosis’s progression and are usually worn until a child completes adolescent growth periods. Other treatments for mild to moderate forms of scoliosis include chiropractic therapy and electronic muscle stimulation.
Candidates For Surgery
When more pronounced or aggressive cases of scoliosis are diagnosed, surgical intervention might be necessary. The most suitable candidates for spinal operations are youths who fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Are diagnosed with severe curvatures. Pronounced abnormalities have a tendency to worsen over time.
- Have a double-curved shaped pattern. Individuals diagnosed with what is medically referred to as “S-shaped curves” are typically more severe than those concluded to possess “C-shaped curves.”
- Present with curvatures in the thoracic region of the spine. Curvatures occurring in this central region of the spine are often more severe and aggressive than those seen at the top or bottom of the structure.
- In many instances, scoliosis progresses far more significantly in young ladies than in boys.
Different Scoliosis Surgeries
The specific type of surgical procedure indicated for your or your child will depend on factors like on the condition’s severity the exact location of the curve. However, when surgery is needed, said procedure may be one of the following techniques:
- Spinal Fusion. During spinal fusion, a surgeon fuses several spinal vertebrae together to ensure the structure grows at a normal and straightforward pace. Fusion is performed using metal instrumentation such as screws, wires, and hooks. Medical professionals opine that said approach offers the most efficient and expedient method of correcting existing curvatures.
- Delated Fusion Tactics. In some cases, surgeons opine that supportive measures be employed during a young person’s growth spurt. Growth spurts in persons with scoliosis may be accommodated through the insertion of rods into said individual’s spine once or twice per year. That said, however, once the growth period ends, said youths typically undergo spinal fusion.
- Fusion-Less Procedures. Fusion-less techniques are performed by placing significant amounts of pressure on the outer reaches of the spine’s abnormally curved region. Spinal experts opine that executing such a maneuver will curb the outer portion of the spine from curving while enabling the inner portion to grow at a normal pace.
If your child has been diagnosed with scoliosis or you suspect they might be stricken with the said ailment, you are encouraged to contact the offices of Dr. Ryan Russell. Dr. Russell and his highly trained staff possess extensive experience with scoliosis and other spinal problems. For more information call us today at 205-637-1363.