Congenital Scoliosis can be defined as a sideways curvature of the spine due to a deformity present at birth. This means that the child’s spinal cord did not develop properly doing the initial four to five months of fetal growth. The condition is characterized by a twisted or rotated spine, which usually resembles the letter ‘C’ or ‘S’. Though the deformity is innate, the symptoms may not become apparent until the child attains adolescence.
- One or more of the spinal vertebrae may form partially or completely fail to develop
- Bones may not get separated as they should be
- Absence of one or more bones in the spine
- Formation of compensatory curves in the spine to balance the
- Scoliotic curves
- Tilted or uneven shoulders
- One shoulder blade may protrude more than the other
- The head or upper body may tilt to either side
- One hip may be higher than another
- Uneven waistline
- Tilted pelvis
- Prominence of ribs on one side
- To diagnose Congenital Scoliosis, the spine surgeon may evaluate the child’s medical and family history.
- He may conduct a physical examination to look for the apparent symptoms.
- He may also check the reflexes in the abdomen and legs to rule out any nerve problem. I
- maging tests such as X-ray, CT scan, MRI and ultrasound may be performed to detect the exact abnormality that has led to the development of Scoliosis.
- If the scoliotic curve is much not significant, the spine specialist may monitor its progression by conducting X-rays after every few months during the growing years.
- Braces or cast may be used to treat a curve between 25 and 40 degrees.
- It may help to reduce the pressure on the spine and keep it in a more aligned position.
- Surgical intervention may be required for children who:
- Have significantly abnormal curves
- Have curves that are worsening with growth
- Have developed an abnormality of the spine
- Are experiencing neurological problems, weakness, numbness or a loss of coordination due to the deformity
- The spine surgeon may recommend spinal fusion to join the underdeveloped vertebrae so that they heal into a single bone. If the child is young, a ‘growing’ rod may be attached to the spine above and below the curve. After every few months, the surgeon may lengthen the rod to allow continued growth of the spine.
- Once the child has completely grown, a spinal fusion may be performed.