Kauvery Hospital | Patient Newsletters | Scoliosis or Spine Deformity - An Under-Diagnosed Problem

The spine of a normal person is straight when seen from the front or back and the body is erect when seen from either side. In some people, there is an abnormal curvature of the spine from side to side, and the condition is called Scoliosis. The spine of a person afflicted with Scoliosis has an "S" or "C" shape as against the straight line of a normal spine. Some people show a forward bending of the spine which causes a round back, and such a deformity is called Kyphosis.

Scoliosis is of 4 types. Out of these, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis accounts for nearly 80 percent of cases, and is prevalent in 0.47–5.2 % of the general population. Girls are more vulnerable to the condition than boys with the female to male ratio ranging from 1.5:1 to 3:1. In girls, the progression of scoliosis is accelerated during the time of menarche.

How to identify a Scoliosis afflicted person:

1. As seen in Figure 1, their rib cage seems uneven or crooked with one side higher than the other. Or they display a "rib hump" on one side of their back whenever they lean.

2. Their head does not seem to be in the center, and it is slightly tilted to one side when they are observed from the back or front.

3. One of their hips is higher than the other.

4. When they are standing in a relaxed position, the arm to trunk gap is higher on one side compared to the other.

5. As seen in Figure 2, they display crooked shoulders, where one shoulder is higher than the other.

Treating Scoliosis

The purpose of treatment is:

1. To reduce the risk of lung diseases

2. To prevent them from early onset of back and neck pain

3. To extend the lifespan of the person by a minimum of 8 to 10 years

4. Overall appearance and aesthetics

Treatment Options

There are three proven treatments for scoliosis:

1. Observation

2. Bracing

3. Surgery

An orthopedic doctor will recommend one of these options based on the severity of scoliosis, as well as age and physical maturity of the child.



Article by Dr. Vignesh Pushparaj, MBBS, D Ortho, FIPM, AO-FISS (Asia pacific), FISS(Netherlands)
Associate Spine Surgeon,
Kauvery Hospital, Chennai



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