Scoliosis, or curving of the spine, can affect children, adolescents and adults. It can be caused by a wide variety of genetic, neuromuscular, idiopathic, surgical and other conditions. While not all scoliosis requires surgery, if the curvature is severe, it may need to be corrected. At DOCS Health, our neurospine surgeons offer advanced treatments and adult or pediatric scoliosis surgery at our medical center in Los Angeles.
Scoliosis is a descriptive term that describes the curvature of the spine. When looking at the spine from the side, the spine is normally curved. For instance, the cervical and the lumbar spine have lordosis (backwards sway) while the thoracic spine has kyphosis (forward sway). These curves help maintain the normal neutral position of the body and help keep the head centered above the pelvis. If the head is not centered above the pelvis when a person is standing, then the spine is described as having a kyphotic deformity (i.e. has an abnormal amount of kyphosis).
When looking at the spine from the front or back, a normal spine is straight. However, when there is a curvature of the spine when viewed from the front or back, then the term scoliosis is used. There are many causes for scoliosis and include congenital, idiopathic, neuromuscular, iatrogenic or degenerative.
When Is Scoliosis Surgery Necessary?
The most common type of scoliosis is idiopathic and affects adolescents. This type of scoliosis is monitored to determine how significant the curvature will become. If the curvature is more than 45-50 degrees, surgery is considered necessary to help improve mobility and decrease the risk of organ damage.
For other types of scoliosis, the decision to have surgery depends on the symptoms and health risks. Some types of scoliosis can be effectively managed or controlled with physical therapy, braces and other non-surgical treatments. However, if there is chronic pain, limited mobility or health risks, surgery may be recommended to improve the patient’s quality of life.
If you or your child have scoliosis and want to explore treatment options, contact us at DOCS Health. We offer non-surgical treatments and scoliosis surgery performed by top neurospine surgeons at our facility in Los Angeles.