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What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition characterized by the abnormal curvature of the spine that causes a deviation to one side. It causes a physical deformity, making the spine look like the letter “C” or “S” instead of the letter “I”. Scoliosis can affect either the mid or lower back. Scoliosis of the mid back is more common. Scoliosis can occur at any age.

Types of Scoliosis

Scoliosis can be classified into five categories, depending on the age group affected:

  • Congenital scoliosis: Spinal deformity is already present at birth. It occurs due to an abnormality in the formation of fetal ribs and spinal bones within the womb.
  • Infantile scoliosis: Affects children below 3 years of age.
  • Juvenile scoliosis: Seen in children in the age group of 4 to 10 years.
  • Adolescent scoliosis: Affects teenagers and early teens (11 to 18 years)
  • Adult scoliosis: Affects individuals above the age of 18 years

Non-operative treatment for Scoliosis

The treatment plan is based on the cause of scoliosis, the degree and position of the spinal curve and your age. The non-operative treatment approach of scoliosis includes:

  • Observation: No treatment is required for a spinal curve below 20 degrees. However, you are advised regular follow up visits to carefully monitored for the progression of the curve. 
  • Back bracing: A back brace may be recommended in children with a curve between 20-40 degrees to stop the progression of scoliosis and prevent surgery. Bracing is not effective for congenital or neuromuscular scoliosis.

Surgery for Scoliosis

Surgery is recommended only in individuals with a severe curve, which may affect other vital functions of the body or those with a high progression rate and surgery cannot wait till the skeletal maturity is reached. Surgery for scoliosis aims at rectifying the curve with metal rods, screws, and hooks to stabilize the spine. An open or minimally invasive approach can be used for surgery.

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • North American Spine Society
  • Cobb County Medical Society
  • Georgia Orthopaedic Society
  • Piedmont Clinic