Scoliosis is a condition where the spine forms a sideways curve rather than a straight line, most prevalent in children and adolescents just before puberty. Certain conditions like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy or birth defects can cause scoliosis, but in most cases, the cause is unknown.
Types of Scoliosis
- Idiopathic Scoliosis: No known cause
- Congenital Scoliosis: Formed before birth
- Neuromuscular: Caused from a medical condition
If you notice your child has uneven shoulders, an uneven waist, one shoulder blade more prominent than the other, or one hip higher than the other, take them to see a doctor as soon as possible. Scoliosis can become more severe and impact the heart, lungs, and spinal cord and will not straighten without intervention.
Chatham Orthopaedic Associates offers comprehensive treatment options for scoliosis. If the curvature is less than 20 degrees, we will monitor the condition every six months to ensure it hasn’t worsened. Depending on the severity of the spine’s curve, our doctors may also recommend either bracing or surgery.
Bracing does not straighten the spine; it simply inhibits the curve’s progression, preventing the need for surgery. Upon evaluation of the condition, one of our spine specialists will prescribe the best type of brace for your child, as well as how long the brace should be worn, taking into account a number of factors:
- Flexibility of the curve
- Location of the curve
- Number of curves present
- Vertebrae position and rotation
- Other existing medical conditions
The longer the brace is worn each day, the more effective it is. Typically, the doctor will recommend that the brace is worn daily until the child has met their growth and development potential.
Spinal Fusion Surgery
If the curve is greater than 45-50 degrees, chances are it will only continue to worsen — even after your child is no longer growing. This is why we often suggest a surgery called a spinal fusion, where the curved vertebrae are realigned and fused together into a single bone with rods, hooks, or screws.
If your child has scoliosis, you likely have a lot of questions. The team at The Spine Institute at Chatham Orthopaedic Associates is here to answer them and guide you through the diagnosis and treatment process to ensure your child’s health and safety. Contact us to schedule an appointment at our Savannah, Pooler, Rincon, or Richmond Hill clinic.