[photopress:Spine_507.jpg,thumb,pp_style]By Jonathan F. Camp, MD
About 100 children, mainly females ages 10 – 14, are diagnosed with scoliosis each year in Las Vegas. While not life threatening, if left untreated, scoliosis can cause serious health problems in adulthood.
Scoliosis is a side-to-side curve of the spine. On an x-ray, the spine of a child with the condition looks more like the shape of an “s” or “c” than a straight line. The three types of Idiopathic scoliosis are infantile, which is common in males; juvenile and adolescent, more common in females and characterized by curves that are at a moderate to high risk for progression.
Early diagnosis and treatment helps prevent curve progression and deformity. If left untreated, scoliosis can cause significant spine deformity and stiffness, which increases a patient’s risk for other health complications due to pressure on major organs including the lungs and heart.
Middle schools normally provide examinations to female students. Otherwise, the responsibility lies on parents or guardians to be attentive to the physical signs of scoliosis, which are uneven shoulders or waist, prominent ribs on one side of the chest, usually the right side. In a physical examination, a doctor checks for other asymmetry in the shoulders, rib cage, waist and pelvis. If appropriate, the primary care doctor or orthopedic surgeon who initially examines the child will refer a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.
The pediatric orthopedic surgeon will determine the necessary treatment based on the child’s age, remaining growth potential, curve pattern and magnitude, the anticipated rate of progression and appearance of the condition.
Children with smaller more flexible curves are usually braced. While not a cure, it arrests the progression of the condition. For curves larger than 45 degrees, surgical intervention is often required to control and correct the deformity permanently. Today, there are numerous techniques that allow for minimal scarring and a short recovery time.
For more information on scoliosis, or to learn about the scoliosis support group that is now forming, please go to www.CBSOrtho.com, or call 434-6920.
Jonathan Camp, MD is the founder of Children’s Bone and Spine Surgery. A pediatric spine surgeon for more than 25 years, he has dedicated his professional life to providing children with scoliosis, and their families with a safe, comfortable, congenial and personable experience, in the context of proven techniques and exceptional surgical outcomes. He is a member of the Green Valley Stake. Children’s Bone and Spine Surgery is located at 1525 E. Windmill Lane, Ste. 201. For more information, call 434-6920 or go online to www.CBSOrtho.com.