Scoliosis is an abnormal curving of the spine. Your spine is your backbone and it runs straight down your back. Everyone’s spine curves naturally a tiny bit but people with scoliosis have a spine that curves too much. More common in girls than boys, scoliosis is usually noted in the early teens but can appear at any age. Children are screened by their pediatrician for scoliosis and are referred to a specialist for diagnosis if scoliosis is suspected. Your New York City Spine Surgeon, Andrew Casden MD, a board certified orthopedic surgeon and named one of New York’s Best Doctors by New York Magazine, is experienced in both traditional and minimally-invasive spinal surgery.
A thorough physical examination will detect scoliosis in most teenagers and adults, but an x-ray is usually necessary to determine the severity of the curve. Scoliosis in teenagers is usually not associated with pain but if pain is present an MRI of the entire spine may be required. Most adult curves can be managed with physical therapy and exercise. Moderate curves may require a brace but if the curve is severe and painful then surgery may be recommended. Spinal surgery for scoliosis, by your New York City Spine Surgeon, is done to improve the curve and stop the progression.
Symptoms can include backache or low-back pain, tired feeling in the spine after standing or sitting for a long period of time, uneven hips or one shoulder may be higher than the other or if the spine curves to one side. If you are still growing, our doctor might recommend a back brace to prevent further curving. There are many different types of braces. What kind you get depends on the size and location of your curve and our doctor will pick the best one for you and show you how to use it. Back braces work best in people over the age of 10 and can be adjusted as you grow. Your New York City Spine Surgeon will recommend surgery if he feels the curve is too severe.
Once our New York City Spine Surgeon, Dr. Casden, feels that surgery is the way to go, he will use state-of-the-art technology to correct the curve as much as possible. The spine bones are held in place with one or two metal rods, which are held down with hooks and screws until the bone heals together. After surgery, you may need to wear a brace for a little while to keep the spine still. These surgical procedures are challenging and complex but often make a dramatic improvement in patient’s ability to stand upright and decrease spinal pain.