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Keep Your Child's Back In Line With Scoliosis Insight From HSS

Dr. Daniel Green of Hospital for Special Surgery .
Dr. Daniel Green of Hospital for Special Surgery . Photo Credit: Hospital for Special Surgery

STAMFORD, Conn. -- HSS pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Daniel Green answers questions about diagnosing scoliosis and how it's treated.

What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis causes the spine to curve sideways to varying degrees in an “S” or “C” shape. It can cause the bones of the spine to turn so that one part of the body, such as a shoulder or hip, looks to be higher than the other. Scoliosis can occur at any age, and can also run in families.

Are there different types of scoliosis?

Yes, there are three different forms of scoliosis. The most common type is idiopathic scoliosis. In the case of adolescents, the spine is curved in one or more planes and has no known cause. Neuromuscular scoliosis results from abnormalities of the muscle-nerve pathways of the body, and is regarded to be highly severe in patients with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and paralysis. Finally, congenital scoliosis results from improper vertebrae formation. This form of scoliosis is often present at birth.

Who is at high risk?

When it comes to scoliosis, it can occur in all age groups. However, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis happens to be found more frequently among girls than boys. It is commonly diagnosed in girls between the ages of 10 and 15, as they are more likely to have a progressive curve that will require treatment.

What are your recommendations for prevention?

Early diagnosis can lead to effective brace treatment, which can help control the progression of scoliosis in a significant percentage of patients. It can be effective if the patient is still growing and the spinal curvature falls between a range of 25 and 45 degrees. If the curve exceeds 45 degrees, surgery is often recommended, again especially if the patient is still growing.

Is there ongoing research on scoliosis?

Hospital for Special Surgery has one of the largest collections of surgeons who are active members of the prestigious Scoliosis Research Society and strongest groups of scoliosis experts in the country. HSS Spine offers patients the most advanced care and treatment of all aspects of scoliosis.

Dr. Daniel Green is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery and director of the Pediatric Sports Program for the Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery. He practices at both the HSS Outpatient Center in Stamford, CT and the hospital’s main campus in New York.