Treatment Options for Scoliosis

Treatment Options for Scoliosis

Do you feel like your body is asymmetrical? If you notice that one shoulder appears taller than the other, one hip seems higher than the other, or your ribs protrude, you may not be imagining it. You might have scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that can be located in any portion of it.

Scoliosis is often diagnosed in childhood or early adolescence and is frequently related to the growth spurts that occur during these periods.

Many cases of scoliosis require no treatment, but those who do need it can turn to board-certified neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Cohen, who offers advanced treatments, including surgical solutions. 

He treats patients as he’d want his own family to be treated, and he gathers a wealth of information before creating a customized treatment plan for your scoliosis — exactly as it should be. 

More basics on scoliosis

The vast majority — about 85% — of scoliosis in children and teens is idiopathic scoliosis, or scoliosis that can’t be traced to a cause.

Typically, when the cause is known, the condition is linked to a birth defect or a neuromuscular impairment that affects how the muscles function. 

Scoliosis can still emerge if you’ve reached adulthood, though, but in these cases it’s usually degenerative and related to disc problems, osteoporosis, and arthritis — all of which cause curvature of the spine.

How does my physician decide that my scoliosis needs treatment? 

Age is one factor Dr. Cohen considers when determining if you need treatment for scoliosis, but the biggest factors are the degree of curvature present and the severity of the symptoms. If you have a curve of 10 to 25 degrees, Dr. Cohen typically monitors you routinely and watches for any changes. 

In addition to having a C- or S-shaped curve, scoliosis can cause the spine to become twisted in more severe cases. 

Your symptoms also guide Dr. Cohen in deciding whether you need treatment for your scoliosis or not. Even if a teen with scoliosis doesn’t deal with pain, their problems with asymmetry can make them self-conscious, which is devastating to a tween or teen who wants nothing more than to fit in with their peers. 

You may also face limited mobility, experience muscle pain, or incur painful back spasms as a result of spinal curvature. The level of pain and rigidity for adult patients can be profound. 

Multiple treatment options for scoliosis offer hope and relief

Dr. Cohen always speaks with patients diagnosed with scoliosis, or their parents, about all viable treatment options. Medications that ease inflammation, physical therapy, and bracing can all help with scoliosis pain. Simply treating co-occurring conditions like osteoporosis can also improve degenerative scoliosis. 

If you have a curvature that’s greater than 40 or 50 degrees, it may require a procedure called stabilization surgery that not only eases your discomfort, but has the ability to halt the advancement of your scoliosis. 

During the procedure, Dr. Cohen places implants made of metal — screws, rods, or plates — into your spine to stabilize and fuse it. A fusion procedure involves the application of a bone graft to selected vertebrae, and the metallic tools keep your bones where they should be while they join together, or fuse, over time. The graft is responsible for the fusion. 

The fascinating thing about grafting is that Dr. Cohen can either harvest a bit of bone from your hip, whose cells fuel the growth of bone, or he can opt for a synthetic bone composed of biocompatible agents or materials that won’t be rejected by your body. 

Other surgical options for treating scoliosis include spinal reconstruction or decompression. 

No matter what surgical treatment you have, Dr. Cohen performs minimally invasive surgery whenever possible. 

This method is different from traditional surgery in that it requires only several small incisions.  Dr. Cohen targets his surgical treatment by using specially designed surgical tools that he inserts into a long, thin tube placed through your incision. 

Minimally invasive surgery is associated with faster healing and less pain, scarring, and bleeding. 

Call our office to schedule a scoliosis consultation with Dr. Cohen, or book one online. We’re also happy to offer telehealth visits as we continue to need multiple communication methods as a result of the pandemic.  

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