Of the nearly 3 million individuals diagnosed with scoliosis each year, about one-third of them are tweens between ages 10 and 12. The spine condition is characterized by an abnormal sideways spinal curvature, and even though many cases aren’t severe enough to require treatment, it’s critical for parents to know when medical intervention is necessary.
If you suspect our child may have scoliosis, it’s wise to get them checked out by a medical professional. You’ll either learn that treatment isn’t necessary, or you can proactively move toward a sound treatment plan if corrective steps are necessary.
As a highly accomplished and experienced board-certified neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Cohen provides expert, compassionate care to his young scoliosis patients — and his expertise and engaging manner put the entire family at ease. He considers you, your child, and himself a team, and always takes the time to answer all questions you and your child may have.
How is pediatric scoliosis diagnosed?
When you visit Dr. Cohen to have your child evaluated for scoliosis, he learns about their comprehensive medical history, visually assesses your child’s spine, and runs imaging tests so he can have all the clinical data he needs to make his diagnosis.
When examining your child, Dr. Cohen looks for certain indicators that point to scoliosis:
- An uneven look in their hips, shoulders, and at the waist
- A limited capability to twist and bend
- Body looks to be leaning toward one side
- A visible rib hump
In addition, he typically discusses symptoms directly with your child, such as whether their clothing fits or hangs strangely, and if they suffer from any back pain or even muscle spasms.
Since the range of curvature in children varies so much — from a slight C- or S-shaped curve to severe spinal twisting or rotation — it’s critical for Dr. Cohen to ascertain the degree of your child’s curvature so he can create the optimal treatment plan.
Depending on the severity of your child’s curvature, they might be experiencing no symptoms or discomfort at all, or considerable pain and discomfort.
The vast majority of scoliosis cases diagnosed in children are idiopathic, meaning that the specific cause can’t be identified, but the important thing is that it can be safely and effectively treated. That said, it’s important to know also that scoliosis isn’t caused by habits like carrying a heavy backpack on one side of the body or having poor posture.
What treatments are available for my child if they’re diagnosed with scoliosis?
If your child has scoliosis, don’t panic. As we mentioned earlier, if Dr. Cohen concludes that your child’s spinal curvature is mild, often no treatment is required, and moderate cases might only require that your child wear a brace.
Depending on the degree of your child’s curvature, Dr. Cohen may recommend a stabilization surgical procedure for children whose curvature is more than 40 to 50°. Fortunately, Dr. Cohen is versed in surgical correction for scoliosis in children, and stabilization gives your child pain relief and puts a halt to their condition advancing any further.
During this surgery, Dr. Cohen places metal implants at the appropriate locations, which correct, straighten, strengthen, and secure the spine. Or, he may recommend spinal fusion or spinal decompression, depending on your child’s specific case.
Whenever possible, Dr. Cohen performs minimally invasive surgery, which requires smaller incisions compared to traditional surgery, and is associated with faster healing, less bleeding and scarring, and reduced pain.
Since this surgery requires general anesthesia and recovery time in the hospital and at home, Dr. Cohen discusses the preparatory process for the surgery, the procedure itself, and aftercare and recovery in detail with you and your child.
If you’d like your child to be assessed for scoliosis, call us at 516-231-2849 to schedule an in-person consultation or contact us through our website. Telemedicine appointments are available if appropriate as well. Your family is in the best hands with Dr. Cohen.