Diagnosis and Treatment of Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition characterized by an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. The spine may curve in an “S” or “C” shape. It typically develops during the growth spurt just before puberty, but it can occur at any age. Here is a detailed overview of the diagnosis and treatment of scoliosis:

Diagnosis of Scoliosis

  1. Physical Examination:
    • The doctor will examine the patient’s spine, shoulders, and hips for signs of scoliosis. The patient may be asked to bend forward to make the curvature more noticeable.
  2. X-rays:
    • X-rays are used to get detailed images of the spine and measure the degree of the curvature using the Cobb angle method.
  3. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI):
    • MRI scans provide detailed images of the spine and nerves, useful for identifying underlying causes of scoliosis.
  4. Computed Tomography (CT) Scan:
    • CT scans offer detailed cross-sectional images of the spine and can be used in some cases for more detailed evaluation.

Treatment of Scoliosis

The treatment for scoliosis depends on the severity of the curve, the patient’s age, and the likelihood of the curve progressing. Here are the main treatment options:

  1. Observation
  • Mild Curvatures (10-20 degrees):
    • For children who are still growing, regular check-ups every 4-6 months are recommended to monitor the curvature.
  1. Bracing
  • Moderate Curvatures (20-40 degrees):
    • For children and adolescents, wearing a brace can help prevent the curvature from worsening. Braces are typically not used to correct the curvature but to stop its progression.
    • Types of Braces:
      • Milwaukee brace
      • Boston brace
    • Braces are usually worn for 16-23 hours a day, depending on the doctor’s recommendations.
  1. Surgical Treatment
  • Severe Curvatures (40 degrees and above):
    • Surgery is often recommended for severe curvatures to correct the spine and prevent further progression.
    • Spinal Fusion:
      • The most common surgical method involves fusing the vertebrae together using metal rods, screws, and bone grafts.
    • Minimally Invasive Surgery:
      • Some cases may be treated with less invasive procedures.
    • Growing Rods:
      • For young children, adjustable rods can be implanted and lengthened periodically to accommodate growth.

Post-Treatment and Rehabilitation

  • Physical Therapy:
    • Physical therapy is often recommended to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility after treatment or while wearing a brace.
  • Exercise:
    • Regular exercise is encouraged to maintain overall health and spinal health.
  • Psychological Support:
    • Psychological support may be important, especially for young patients, as scoliosis and its treatment can be emotionally and psychologically challenging.