The spine, or backbone, is made up of multiple bones called “vertebrae” arranged alternately with discs that act as ‘shock absorbers’. When viewed from behind, the normal spine should run straight down and when viewed from the side, it should follow gentle curves. Children can suffer from excessive twisting and rotation of the spine called “scoliosis” or hunch back called “kyphosis”. Children can be affected by these various problems at birth (congenital) or during early as well as late childhood years. Approximately 1-2% of children worldwide have some form of spinal deformities.
Signs and symptoms
Depending on the age of the child and the cause of the condition, sign and symptoms can include –
- Rib hump
- Leaning of the entire body on one side
- Uneven shoulder
- Uneven waistline
- Tilted pelvis
- Breathing difficulties
- Walking difficulties
- Back pain
Testing and diagnosis
Your child will be diagnosed with a spine curvature disorder by a pediatric spine surgeon who will conduct a thorough medical examination and family history, observing the curve of your child’s spine during the physical exam. Early detection of spinal deformities is important for successful diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes. Diagnostic tests may include X-rays, MRI, and CT Scan.
Every spine condition is different, so treatment is determined on an individual basis. In planning your child’s treatment, our specialist will consider the cause and severity of the curve, location in the spine, and your child’s age and stage of growth. The treatment can range from non-surgical management including observation and braces to surgical management including fusion surgeries with rods and screws, growing rod techniques, etc.
Depending upon the cause, kids who have received treatment for spinal deformities can achieve very productive lives. The pediatric spine surgeon will closely follow the child’s development until adulthood.