Scoliosis is an abnormal curving of the spine. Your spine is your backbone. It runs straight down your back. Everyone’s spine naturally curves a tiny bit. But people with scoliosis have a spine that curves too much. The spine might look like the letter “C” or “S.”
Most cases of scoliosis are mild, but some children develop spine deformities that continue to get more severe as they grow. Severe scoliosis can be disabling. An especially severe spinal curve can reduce the amount of space within the chest, making it difficult for the lungs to function properly.
- Uneven shoulders
- One shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other
- Uneven waist
- Severe scoliosis can cause back pain and difficulty breathing.
Severe scoliosis typically progresses with time, so your doctor might suggest scoliosis surgery to reduce the severity of the spinal curve and to prevent it from getting worse. The most common type of scoliosis surgery is called spinal fusion.
In spinal fusion, surgeons connect two or more of the bones in the spine (vertebrae) together, so they can’t move independently. Pieces of bone or a bone-like material are placed between the vertebrae. Metal rods, hooks, screws or wires typically hold that part of the spine straight and still while the old and new bone material fuses together.