Spine & Neurosciences Institute

Scoliosis

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is an abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine that is found most frequently in adolescents between the ages of 10-18. Scoliosis can be caused by any number of spinal deformities, genetic conditions and other problems, but in the vast majority of scoliosis cases, there is no known cause for why it occurs.

Depending on the severity of the curvature and the age of the person when it is found, scoliosis can hinder growth, limit a person’s physical abilities and even put pressure on organs. If this condition develops, scoliosis surgery or other viable treatments are available to treat it.

Scoliosis Symptoms

Scoliosis symptoms are often found during a standard exam used by pediatricians and during school screenings. The majority of schools test children around fifth or sixth grade by having children lean forward with their feet together. Whoever administers the screening generally looks for:

  • Visible side-to-side curvature of the spine.

  • Different heights of the shoulders, with one shoulder blade more prominent than the other.

  • Leaning of the body to one side.

  • Variations in look or texture of the skin around the spine.

  • Uneven waist.

  • Different heights of the rib cages.

Scoliosis screening tests can identify potential issues, but they cannot detect the severity of any spinal deformity. If you or a loved one is thought to have scoliosis, some sort of imaging test will likely be used to confirm a diagnosis and determine the severity of the scoliosis.

Scoliosis Surgery

If an imaging test confirms a patient has scoliosis, there are several courses of action that can be taken to treat it, including scoliosis surgery. Depending on the severity of the scoliosis, your doctor will likely recommend more conservative courses of treatment, like observation or orthopedic bracing prior to considering surgery.

The Aspirus Spine & Neurosciences Institute offers orthopedic bracing as well as the latest surgical options.  During scoliosis surgery, a surgeon will access the spine either through the back, or via an incision on the front of the body. From there, spinal vertebrae are fused together to straighten the curvature of the spine and prevent further curving.

Scoliosis surgery is a long, complex procedure that generally requires a hospital stay of more than a few days. Activities are also restricted for a period of time, but the procedure is very effective in correcting spinal curvatures and preventing future problems associated with scoliosis.