What is Orthopedic Spine Surgery?
Orthopedic Spine Surgery is a general term for any surgery that deals with and corrects disorders or injuries of the skeletal system and associated ligaments, muscles, and joints.
What About Scoliosis?
Scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine, often occurs during the growth spurt that occurs just before puberty. A case of scoliosis is typically mild, but some children and adolescents develop spinal deformities that become increasingly severe as they grow. While a brace and therapy are often sufficient, severe scoliosis can be disabling and even life-threatening. In that case, orthopedic spine surgery is required.
Signs and symptoms of scoliosis can include:
- One shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other
- Uneven shoulders
- A hip higher than the other
- Uneven waist
- When a scoliosis curve worsens, in addition to curving from side to side, the spine will also twist and rotate. This can cause ribs to stick out farther on one side of the body than the other.
What are Some Complications that Orthopedic Surgery for Scoliosis Can Correct?
Though most people who have scoliosis experience a mild form of the disorder, scoliosis can sometimes cause severe complications, including:
- Appearance - Worsening scoliosis in later adolescence can cause noticeable changes such as uneven shoulders, protruding ribs, uneven hips, and a shift of the waist and trunk to either side. Adolescents, in particular, with scoliosis are often self-conscious about their appearance to the point that they withdraw from socialization.
- Severe Back Problems - Adults who had scoliosis as children are significantly more prone to chronic back pain than those who did not.
- Lung and Heart Damage - Severe scoliosis can, at times, cause the rib cage to press against the lungs and heart, making it harder for the heart to pump and more difficult to breathe.