Scoliosis

Neurosurgical Specialists of West County

Neurosurgeons located in Saint Louis, MO

Scoliosis is a condition that means your spine bends the wrong way, and while it doesn’t cause major problems for many of the people who have it, scoliosis can be painful and disabling in some cases. The highly qualified team at Neurosurgical Specialists of West County in St. Louis can assess the severity of your spinal curvature and provide surgery for patients who are severely impaired by scoliosis. Call the practice today to schedule a consultation.

Scoliosis Q & A

What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a spinal condition in which the curvature of the spine bends outward rather than following the normal vertical line. Juvenile or adolescent scoliosis is typically seen in children from the age of 10 and is most often idiopathic, which means there’s no recognizable cause.

In the 10%-15% of cases that do have an identifiable cause, it’s either congenital scoliosis, an abnormality that you’re born with, or neuromuscular scoliosis, a consequence of having a disease like muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, or a spinal cord injury that affects nerves and muscles.

Adults can also develop scoliosis as a result of severe degenerative disease and sometimes low bone density.

Does scoliosis cause any serious problems?

Many people who have scoliosis take part in a wide range of normal physical activities and lead regular lives with few, if any, problems.

However, scoliosis can cause discomfort and pain if you have severe spinal curvature. If you have a particularly pronounced curvature, the spine could be pressing on the internal organs, especially the lungs and heart.

Additionally, if severe, it can apply pressure to the spinal cord or nerve roots, resulting in neurological problems.

What treatments are available for scoliosis?

If you or your child has scoliosis and it’s not affecting your life or causing any discomfort, treatment might not be needed. Your provider at Neurosurgical Specialists of West County may recommend a regular checkup to monitor the spine’s curvature and see how you’re getting on rather than undergoing surgery when it isn’t necessary.

If you’re experiencing mild symptoms and the curvature isn’t too extreme, bracing can help alleviate symptoms. If the curvature in your child’s spine exceeds 45 degrees then surgery might be advisable to relieve discomfort and reduce the risk of injury to their heart or lungs. Surgery is usually only recommended in adults when the curvature is over 50 degrees and you’re experiencing nerve problems in your legs or have symptoms such as incontinence.

It’s not possible to completely straighten out a severe spinal curvature, but your provider can assess how much of an improvement surgery is likely to achieve by measuring the flexibility of your spine using X-ray technology.

If you undergo surgery for scoliosis, your surgeon straightens your spine as much as possible without causing any damage, then fuses the vertebrae so they stay in place. This involves highly skilled surgical expertise to ensure there’s no pressure on the spinal cord or damage to any of the tissues in and around the spine.

If you suspect your child has scoliosis or you’re concerned about the curvature of your spine, call Neurosurgical Specialists of West County today.