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What Is Scoliosis and Does It Require Surgery?

A healthy human spine will typically appear in a straight line when viewed from behind. Should the spine appear to have a sort of  . Scoliosis is caused when the spine has a curvature of at least ten degrees. It can happen on one or both sides of the spine and it may also affect the thoracic (mid) and lumbar (lower) portion of the spine.

Scoliosis will make a person appear as if they are leaning to one side, but it’s important to note that it is not a result of poor posture. It may be caused when there is a breakdown of the spinal discs, similar to what happens with conditions such as osteoporosis or arthritis.

The spine’s unusual curvature is typically classified by its cause. Nonstructural scoliosis (or functional scoliosis) is caused by at least one or more conditions, such as a difference in the length of the legs, for example. This type of scoliosis is most often temporary and can be relieved when the underlying condition has been treated. Structural scoliosis may be caused by factors such as an injury, an infection, a birth defect, diseases (connective tissue being one example), or an abnormal growth.

Common symptoms of scoliosis include but are not limited to differences in the height or positions of the shoulder blade, the head not being center with the rest of the body, and a difference in how a person’s arms hang beside the body when they are in a standing position. It is usually diagnosed through a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computed tomography (CT) scan.

Surgery may be an option for scoliosis treatment if the spine has a curve of more than 45 degrees or if treatments such as a brace do not slow down its progression.

This update is brought to you by the Cantor Spine Institute, a minimally invasive spine surgery center located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We utilize groundbreaking ultrasonic spine surgery techniques to treat a number of cervical and lumbar spine conditions including cervical disc herniation, ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament, spondylolisthesis, and more. For more information or to schedule a complimentary MRI review, please call 954-567-1332.

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