Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine is out of alignment, curving to the side. Scoliosis most commonly occurs during the time when children go through growth spurts. It can also be caused by muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and other muscular conditions.
There is still much that is not known about the causes of scoliosis, though the following are thought to be risk factors:
If any of these symptoms appear to take place with your child, consult a physician. Scoliosis is a condition that can appear very slowly, making it hard to detect sometimes. If something seems to be not quite right with spinal alignment, it’s important to follow your instinct. Though boys and girls seem to have an equal chance at getting scoliosis, girls show a higher rate of the condition worsening and requiring more treatment. If left untreated, allowing for a severe case of scoliosis, the following can occur:
In moderate cases of scoliosis, a physician may recommend bracing, wherein the child wears a brace to keep the curvature from getting worse. In these moderate cases, severe action does not usually need to be taken. It is only in the extreme cases that surgery is recommended. If bracing does not work, and the condition worsens, this is when surgery may need to be strongly considered. When considering surgery, a physician will take the patient’s age into consideration, and whether or not the worsening condition requires surgical intervention. The child’s parents will be a factor for consideration also (e.g.,. did either parent have severe scoliosis?).
There are a few options, but the procedure usually involves placing screws and rods along the spine and fusing the deformed spinal vertebrae with either bone taken from somewhere else in the patient’s body (the hip) or bones from a cadaver in the hopes of improving the curvature of the spine. The surgery is very complex and takes hours to perform. This procedure stops the growth of the fused area of the spine, so, it is often not used with young children, as they still have growing to continue. In this case, fusion isn’t used and rods are attached directly to the spine. Wearing a brace full time after experiencing this procedure is common.
If you suspect your child may have scoliosis, consult a physician and halt the curving process as soon as possible.
M.D., Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, 1961.