FAQs

1. What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a curve in the spine.

Here is a videos to help you have a better visual understanding of the spine

 

2. How can you tell that I have scoliosis?

Sometimes it is not noticeable, but you might see that one shoulder or hip is higher than the other, one shoulder blade more prominent or that your trunk and waist are not equally balanced.

 

3. What causes scoliosis....carrying a heavy backpack, not drinking enough milk, poor posture?

No, scoliosis isn't caused by anything that you did or didn't do. It is a genetic condition.

 

4. Does scoliosis hurt?

Adolescents with mild to moderate scoliosis do not have any higher incidence of back pain when compared with adolescents that have back pain but no scoliosis.

 

5. How common is scoliosis?

It is present in two to three percent of the population.

 

6. Does scoliosis run in families?

Scoliosis is a genetic condition most common in girls. At this time, scientists continue to work to identify the specific genetic markers of DNA that indicate scoliosis.

 

7. Is there a way to tell if my scoliosis will get worse or not?

Not at this time, though part of the current genetic research is trying to find an answer this question.

 

8. Can I still exercise?

Yes, staying active is important to overall health. There are no exercises, sports or activities that will make scoliosis worse or better.

 

9. What is the treatment for scoliosis?

Basically, there are three options: to monitor it with routine check-ups and x-rays, to wear a brace or to have surgery.

 

10. Are there any alternative treatments?

There is no scientific data that proves alternative methods such as chiropractic, physical therapy, vitamins, etc. will affect the natural history of scoliosis, but there is no evidence that they do harm either.

 

11. What is the purpose of a brace?

The goal is to prevent the curve from getting bigger and therefore preventing surgery.

 

12. Will a brace make my scoliosis better?

Not permanently.

The curve(s) are somewhat corrected by the brace but once the brace is taken off, the curves can return to their original form.

 

13. Do I have to wear the brace all of the time?

It depends on the type of brace, and the type of brace depends on the location of your curve. Some braces are worn full-time (20 to 23 hours/day) and some only during sleep. If you are wearing a brace full-time, it is important to continue to participate in sports, P.E. and other activities. You can remove the brace during this time.

 

14. How long do I have to wear the brace?

You should wear the brace until you are done growing.

 

15. What is the goal of surgery?

The goal of surgery is to prevent scoliosis from continuing to get worse and correct the curves as much as can safely be corrected.

 

16. What kind of surgery do I need?

Spinal fusion with instrumentation depends on the location of your curve(s). Surgery is done through an incision on your side (anterior) or through an incision on your back (posterior). Some curve patterns can be treated by either method.

 

17. How long will I be in the hospital?

Five to seven days.

 

18. How much school will I miss?

Three to four weeks.

 

19. When can I play sports again?

Opinions vary among surgeons, but most release people back to sports and other activities by one year after surgery.

 

20. What will the scar look like?

While everybody heals differently, incisions tend to fade and become less noticeable over time. The goal is for it to heal as a flat, thin line that is the same color as your skin. Please ask your surgeon this question.

 

21. If I have metal in my back, will it set off alarms in the airport?

This is not likely.

 

22. Will I need to have more surgery later on?

Subsequent surgeries are unlikely, but it is important to keep your follow up visits with your surgeon for at least two to five years to make sure your spine heals properly.

 

23. What if I decide not to have the surgery?

Good question.

We recommend that you discuss this with the surgeon. Knowing risks and benefits of not having surgery, as well as the risks and benefits of having surgery, will be important as you make decisions.

 

24. Are my children going to have scoliosis?

It is possible.

There is a higher likelihood that your children will have scoliosis, although it may skip a generation or more.

 

25. How do I chose a scoliosis surgeon?

You should speak to your family doctor and other people in your area who may be familiar with scoliosis surgeons. Your surgeon should have significant experience treating young people with scoliosis, should have performed many surgeries like yours and should be comfortable discussing the procedure with you and your family. S/he should also be a member of the Scoliosis Research Society and board certified with proper credentials.

 

The information presented on this website is for educational purposes only and should not be used as medical advice. For all health problems, and concerns regarding spinal deformities, you should consult your physician.