Why It's Important to Catch Scoliosis Early

By The Spine Center

Scoliosis is a condition that causes an abnormal curvature of the spine and affects an estimated 2-3% of the US population. While many people can have mild scoliosis that doesn’t cause any adverse effects during their lifetime, scoliosis can advance rapidly in some children and cause major problems.

At The Spine Center at the Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge, early corrective treatment for childhood scoliosis can stop this disease in its tracks and allow children to grow up without suffering from the severe effects of scoliosis.

What causes scoliosis?

While some children have scoliosis due to a birth defect or a condition like Marfan syndrome, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy, doctors cannot identify a cause in as many as 80% of scoliosis cases. Scoliosis is most commonly identified in children between ages 10-15, and girls are 10 times more likely to have a serious case.

What are the side effects of scoliosis?

In advanced scoliosis, the back can be visibly curved to the right or left and rotated, causing a hunched or crooked appearance. This can put pressure on the cartilage and nerves in the back, causing pain. The bones can also end up growing improperly, causing the spine to become rigid and unyielding. Untreated scoliosis can eventually lead to heart or lung problems, or even premature death.

Scoliosis diagnosis and treatment planning

Early diagnosis and treatment of scoliosis can allow many children to lead a normal, healthy life. Scoliosis that presents early (during toddlerhood growth spurts) and that is markedly severe is typically treated with a body brace to straighten the spine and help it grow more naturally. Scoliosis identified in early adolescence can also be treated surgically.

Scoliosis corrective surgery

At The Spine Center at the Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge, our team can help correct your child’s spine through specialized surgery performed under general anesthesia. The doctor makes a careful incision down the center of the back and affixes screws and rods to the spine to gently straighten it and aid in de-rotation.

After the surgery, you can expect your child to stay in the hospital for three to five days for observation, to get appropriate pain management, and to start physical therapy. Your child wears a brace for approximately eight weeks after the procedure.

If your child suffers from scoliosis and you want to explore surgery as an option to prevent further curvature and pain, contact us at 833-774-6327 or request a consultation online. Our team can help advise you on the best options and determine whether surgery can help.