Traditional Scoliosis Treatment Options

The treatment options for scoliosis fall into three main categories: observation of the scoliosis, nonoperative treatment and surgical treatment.

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  • Observation: This is for curves that have a small degree measurement when you are growing (adolescent scoliosis), or for moderate size curves (< 40 degrees) when you are done growing. For adults, observation and physical therapy are for those patients who have mild symptoms and have curves which are not large.
  • Bracing: This is for curves between 25 and 40 degrees in growing children to prevent further progression of the curve while growth of the spine remains. The goal of bracing is to prevent further progression since the brace cannot correct curves.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is a discipline based on movement, conditioning, and manipulation, that offers tangible benefits in terms of short term and long term pain relief. Though not shown to alter the natural history of curve progression, physical therapy can help with pain and imbalance issues associated with scoliosis.
  • Injection Treatment: In patients with scoliosis in their young adult stage, or their older adult stage, often there is pain related to the scoliosis. This often can be treated by physical therapy or the judicious use of injection treatments. These can be directed at either painful facets, discs, or nerves. These injections should be administered by a physician skilled in the non-operative treatment of patients with scoliosis.
  • Growing Constructs: Occasionally, very young children can present with scoliosis, either infantile idiopathic, young juvenile idiopathic, congenital, or associated with a soft tissue, bony, or neuromuscular syndrome. Grow constructs, either titanium ribs (VEPTR), Shilla constructs, Harms constructs, or traditional growing rods can provide curve correction as the spine is growing. The goal is to preserve spine growth, and more importantly, thoracic cage growth and lung function.
  • Open Surgical treatment: Surgical treatment is reserved for curves which are generally greater than 40-50 degrees for adolescent patients and young adults. In older adults, surgery is usually reserved for progressive curves, curves that alter spinal balance, and curves that cause pain from either collapse or degeneration. Surgery can be performed for smaller curves if the appearance of the curvature is bothersome to the patient or if symptoms are associated with the scoliosis. Long term, surgery can help if there is degeneration of the scoliosis, or the low back below the scoliosis is wearing out in the adult patient. The final reason can be progressive focal or global spinal imbalance.

The goals of scoliosis surgery, performed by Dr. Geck in Austin Texas, are to obtain curve correction and to prevent curve progression, thus improving the patient's future potential for pain and deformity. This is generally achieved by placing metal implants onto the spine which are then attached to rods which correct the spine curvature and hold it in the corrected position until fusion, or knitting of the spine elements together.

 

Treatments
  • Traditional Treatments
    • Learn about traditional treatments for pain relief to bridge from inactivity to physical therapy
  • Scoliosis Surgery
    • Learn about advances in scoliosis treatment and current minimally invasive options.
  • Osteotomy Surgery
    • For the most complex spinal deformities learn about how osteotomy surgery can balance the spine.
  • Thoracoscopic Surgery
    • Video assisted thoracoscopic surgery uses techniques for minimal invasion of the chest wall or thoracic cavity.
  • Vertebral Body Stapling
    • Vertebral body stapling is an innovative, minimally invasive approach that is an alternative therapy for early onset scoliosis.
  • XLIF, DLIF, TLIF
    • Learn about minimally invasive interbody techniques such as XLIF, DLIF, and TLIF.
What do Your Symptoms Indicate?
  • Red Flag Symptoms
    • Many back problems can improve on their own or with non-surgical treatment. They key is to understand which symptoms are emergencies and need to be seen immediately.
Home Remedy Book
  • Home Remedy Book
    • Have back or neck pain? Learn what causes symptoms and the home remedies that relieve pain. Scoliosis Texas mails out Home Remedy Books to residents throughout the Austin area.

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