Scoliosis occurs when the spine curves in a manner different from the natural curve. The body is kept in balance by the natural curve of the spine which extends from the front of the body to the back. In the case of scoliosis, the spine curves from one side of the body to the other and deviates from the middle of the body.
A common indicator of scoliosis is a misalignment of certain parts of the body. This may be shoulders, hips or the ribs having different heights. The body may also tilt towards one side. Other symptoms may be a pain in the neck or the back.
About this Condition
Scoliosis has been observed to occur in both boys and girls, but it is most frequent in adolescent girls. Although the exact cause is yet to be determined, changes in the curves of the spine may result from growth spurts and occur gradually without causing pain.
There are different types of scoliosis which may result from certain conditions:
- Arthritic changes in older patients may lead to degenerative scoliosis
- Adolescent girls may experience Idiopathic adolescent scoliosis. It also occurs in some boys.
Two rare types of scoliosis are:
- Congenital scoliosis: formed as a result of any problem associated with the formation of the vertebrae. It is usually present from the day of birth of a child.
- Neuromuscular scoliosis: diseases such as spina bifida or cerebral palsy usually cause weakness in muscles and difficulty in controlling muscles. This can lead to neuromuscular scoliosis.
If scoliosis occurs and the curve formed is less than 20 degrees, there may be no need to use any treatment. All that is required is a periodic diagnosis of the patient.
A brace is used to inhibit the further development of the curve. It works well in situations where the curve is about 25 to 30 degrees. Bracing does not correct the curve and will only stop it from getting worse. Scoliosis must be treated to prevent it from becoming severe. Failure to avoid this may cause spinal cord damage or respiratory problems.
Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is performed on the lumbar region. A disc or a part of it is removed from the interbody of a vertebra through the front of the body. After removing the disc, a bone graft is performed to fuse the vertebrae and occupy the space left by the disc.
After the surgery, the bone graft is allowed to grow along with the vertebrae as the body heals itself. To bind both the vertebrae and bone graft, a graft material is necessary. It also maintains the proper disc height and provides stability to the spine. As a means of providing support to the vertebrae during the healing process, a rod, plate or hook is implanted. This is known as instrumentation.
This surgery can be performed with another fusion surgery for a better outcome depending on what is most suitable for your condition.
A posterior fusion is performed to join the vertebrae after a previous surgery. It is usually performed after removing a portion of the vertebrae through surgeries such as a laminectomy or a discectomy. It involves performing a bone graft and instrumentation to join the bones and provide the required support during the fusion.