Category Archives: Scoliosis in Children
If your child has been diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, it is likely that your orthopedic specialist will, at some point, prescribe a brace for your child if the scoliosis reaches 20–25 degrees.
The most common scoliosis brace prescribed in the United States is the Boston Brace, which is but one of several braces commonly referred to as a TLSO (thoraco-lumbar-sacral-orthosis).
Non-fusion surgeries for scoliosis are gaining popularity with patients and their parents as a motion-sparing alternative to traditional scoliosis fusion surgery. Two of these procedures (VBT and ApiFix) have been “CE mark” approved in Europe and used “off label” for years in the United States, but recently received FDA HDE approval for both devices, paving the way for careful and selective usage.
“Scoliosis is going to crush her lungs!” is the great fear of every mother of a child with scoliosis as they stare at an x-ray with the spinal curvature intruding into what appear to be the patient’s lung fields.
Adult patients fear this for themselves, as well.
The concern is certainly genuine and real, but is it scientifically accurate? We hope to expose the truth behind this pressing question, as well as explore other possible causes of severe shortness of breath if you or your child have scoliosis.
In today’s world of insurance-driven health care, face time with the actual doctor is becoming more and more limited, and time to ask questions — let alone get an answer — is practically non-existent. It is no wonder the idiopathic scoliosis condition is wrought with confusion and misinformation. While the list of misconceptions regarding idiopathic scoliosis is likely endless, below are six the ScoliSMART doctors feel are important enough to be called out.
Scoliosis is like any other illness: the sooner you identify it, the better your chances of treating it. Since the spine becomes more rigid as a person gets older, the sooner someone is diagnosed with scoliosis, the sooner they can begin a proper course of treatment that can control — or even reverse — the effects of scoliosis.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), scoliosis affects between 2% and 3% of the American population, or about six to nine million people. It is characterized by an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine and there are many different forms. The various types of scoliosis are classified by cause and age of onset; the speed and mechanism of progression also plays a role in determining the specific type of scoliosis.
Understanding scoliosis begins with identifying its location and the type of spinal curvature.
Knowing this information can help predict what types of scoliosis symptoms may be experienced and how the condition can best be treated.
There are several detailed systems for classifying specific types of scoliosis curves, but some of the most common terms identify curves based on their location within the spine and the direction they bend.
One of the most common questions I get from parents and patients is how does the ScoliSMART Activity Suit compare to the Spine Corporation (SpineCor) Brace?
We shouldn’t simply compare, but rather contrast the differences!
The ScoliSMART Activity Suit is to the SpineCor Brace as apples are to oranges — they are different products, designed to do different things and yield different results. Perhaps the only thing they have in common is that both are used to treat patients with scoliosis — kids and adults.
Being diagnosed – or having a child who is diagnosed – with idiopathic scoliosis can be a disconcerting, even scary, experience. After the diagnosis, you’ll be faced with lots of questions, and you’ll be uncertain about the future. What steps should you take? What steps should you avoid?
1) Find a Team You Can Trust
Though a GP or family doctor is important, for a specific medical condition like scoliosis, you’re going to want to see a specialist. To ensure that you can properly manage your or your child’s scoliosis, you want doctors who have spent their careers devoted to spinal health, who are up on the most recent research, and who are committed to helping you develop a plan that is specific to you and your condition. No two curves are alike, and your treatment plan should attest to that. The right doctor will help you realize that plan – so take your time to make sure you find the right doctor.
Treating scoliosis often feels like a race against an opponent with a head start. Once curves start progressing, parents and doctors can easily get caught up in reacting to the spine’s changes without ever managing to get ahead of the curve.
Unfortunately, scoliosis treatment for kids tends revolves around a single-minded focus—preventing curve progression—without full consideration for the child’s long-term quality of life. While traditional treatments can achieve some initial curve reduction, over the course of a lifetime they can also cause significant harm. Bracing, for example, might seem like the best course of action now, when your most pressing concern is to avoid reaching the surgical threshold, but what about 25 years from now? Or 50 years?