Scoliosis Treatment and Orthopedic Surgeons
The body is held together and upright by the spinal column, also known as the backbone. If we did not have that bone curving down the back from the neck to the tailbone, balance and walking would be i...
Even with our modern technology, scoliosis remains somewhat of a mystery in the medical world. It is not really known what causes it, but it can be genetic, so if one family member has it, others may as well. It is also more common for a boy to have it, but if a girl has it, they will be more likely to need treatment.
How do orthopedic surgeons diagnose scoliosis? Often it is not easy to see on its own, but eventually scoliosis can cause your body to tilt one way over another and your shoulder blades to be uneven. Sometimes your breathing, heart function, and joints are also affected. Because it develops over time, doctors check teens on a routine bases for any spinal curvature problems. If any odd curve in the spine is detected at a routine check-up, he may order an x-ray so that he can see exact curvature, then you will be referred to an orthopedic surgeon, who will study the x-rays to see how bad the curve really is and determine what kind of treatment is needed.
Once scoliosis has been diagnosed, how do orthopedic surgeons treat it? On most occasions, teenagers will wear a back brace to keep the spine in place and hopefully keep it from getting worse. Surgery may still be needed, however, to correct the problem. This is called a spinal fusion where the surgeon will separate the bones to link them together so that they will not curve any more. He then connects metal wires, hooks, and screws deep in the muscles around the spine to hold the bones together until you are completely healed. Most of the time these metal parts cause no pain.
Depending on the severity of the curve, spinal fusion surgery can take a long time. Usually you are out of bed walking the very next day, home in about a week and back to school, if a child, in about a month. It takes about a year for the bones to be fully healed and the metal parts are usually left in so a second surgery can be avoided.
If you have been diagnosed with scoliosis, you can live a normal life. Because very few activities will make the problem worse, you or your child should be able to participate in all of your favorite activities.
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