Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to have a curve that looks like an “S” or “C” instead of an “I.” It also causes a rotated or twisted spine, which can pull the ribs along with it to form a curve.
Idiopathic scoliosis – the most common form; it has no known cause. This type affects girls more than boys and tends to run in families. It makes the spine look like an “S” or a “C.” There are three age groups for this type:
- Infantile: diagnosed from birth to age 3
- Juvenile: diagnosed from ages 3 to 9
- Adolescent: the most common, diagnosed from ages 10 to 18
Neuromuscular scoliosis – the second-most common form of scoliosis. It is associated with neuromuscular conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and spina bifida. This type of scoliosis makes a child’s spine look more like a letter “C.” It also will make the spine rotate or twist, pulling the ribs with it to make a curve.
Congenital scoliosis – present at birth and is due to the vertebrae (bones) in the spine not forming the way they should. The following may occur during a baby’s development, which can cause the bones to be:
- Not separated the way they should be
- Partially formed
- Not formed the way they should be
Scoliosis treatment options
Our team treats children with all types of scoliosis, from mild to severe. Children are different, and our treatment plans focus on what will help your child have the best outcome.
Depending on scoliosis type, there are surgical and nonsurgical options:
- Physical therapy
- Spinal fusion – surgery to stop a severe curve from progressing. It involves rods and bone grafting to help the spine fuse and improve the curvature.
- Posterior fusion – the most common operation for idiopathic scoliosis, done through one incision in the back.
- Anterior fusion. – done through the chest, often for curves lower in the spine
- Anterior and posterior fusion – some children require both surgeries. They may be done in the same day or spaced a few weeks apart.
- Spinal osteotomy – surgery to help realign the back with partial removal of bone from the spine
- Vertebral growth modulation – surgery that tries to heal the curve with growth.
Most children and teens diagnosed with scoliosis can look forward to active lives. The outlook for your child greatly depends on the type of scoliosis and your child’s age when diagnosed. If your child’s bones are still growing, it’s an important time for treatment. Early diagnosis and early treatment are keys for all types of scoliosis.
Joshua W. Meier, M.D.
Jennifer M. Brey, M.D.
Mitchell J. Campbell, M.D.
Charles H. Crawford III, M.D.
John R. Dimar II, M.D.
Mladen Djurasovic, M.D.
Steven Glassman, M.D.
Jeffrey L. Gum, M.D.
Laura K. Jacks, M.D.
Star L. Nixon, M.D.
R. Kirk Owens II, M.D.
Rolando M. Puno, M.D.
Kent L. Walker, D.O.
Sarah DuPlessis, PA-C
Andrea E. Ryan, PA-C
Wendy Luber, R.N.
Connect with Norton Children’s Orthopedics of Louisville.
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