Scoliosis refers to the abnormal curvature of the spine. In an individual with a normal spine, the spine should look straight in either front or back view. However, the spine of an individual with scoliosis appears to be curved laterally in front or back view.
Kyphosis is a condition where the spine looks curved from the side because the spine is curved posteriorly or bent forward. Lordosis is a curve seen from side view where the spine is curved anteriorly or bent backward. The thoracic or middle region of spine is physiologically kyphotic while the cervical or upper part of the spine and the lumbar or lower spine are physiologically lordotic. In scoliosis, there are additional curves on either side and an “S” or a “C” shaped curve forms in the spine.
Scoliosis may affect people of any age but it is more common to occur from 10 years old. Girls are more prone to having scoliosis than boys. Idiopathic scoliosis is the term used for having the condition due to unknown cause and is classified further based on the age of onset. Infantile idiopathic scoliosis refers to scoliosis which occurs in babies less than 3 years of age. Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis is for ages 3 to 10, and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is for individuals more than 10 years old. Based on research, most of those patients with idiopathic scoliosis are adolescent girls.
Majority of cases of scoliosis are first detected by a parent, or by regular visits to pediatrician, or during school screening. Frequent signs of scoliosis in children are uneven waist and shoulders, leaning to one side, a prominent shoulder blade, and when the child bends forward one side of his back is higher than the other. Pertinent tests and confirmatory exams will then be performed to identify the degree and type of scoliosis and to determine the appropriate treatment plan.
For adolescents whose scoliosis range from 25 to 40 degrees, the usual treatment is use of brace. Bracing is done to prevent the further development of the spinal curvature. It could give a non permanent improvement, in fact the bend is going to return to its original degree if the brace is removed.
Surgical procedure should be performed on a patient with scoliosis of more that 40 degrees curve. This is done to ensure that the curve will no longer progress, however it does not guarantee a normal straight spine. During the operation, doctors shall use metallic implants that will fix the curve and keep it from bending again right until a bone graft is placed and merge in the area of the curvature. Surgical procedure for scoliosis involves the process of spinal fusion wherein the vertebrae are joined together permanently.