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Straight Talk On Scoliosis

Palm Springs, California  (NAPSI) - Recent research may bring good news to the one in every 1,000 children diagnosed with scoliosis and their families.

Scoliosis is a musculoskeletal disorder that causes the back to have an  abnormal curve.

Symptoms

According to Anthony Sin, M.D., board-certified neurosurgeon and spine  specialist at Shriners Hospitals for Children-Shreveport, parents should  watch for “a visible curve in the spine, uneven hips, a protruding  shoulder blade or shoulders that are not even.”

You may notice your child’s clothes are not fitting correctly or  that hems are not hanging evenly. In some cases, your child’s spine may  appear crooked or his or her ribs may protrude.

Treatments

Some children with mild spinal curves may require no treatment. For those  who do need treatment, your primary pediatrician may refer you to an  orthopaedic spine specialist for the best plan based on your child’s age  and the degree and pattern of the curve and the type of scoliosis. Common  treatments include:

• Observation—If  the curve measures less than 25 degrees, typically, no treatment is needed  other than doctors examining the child every four to six months.

• Surgery—often  with implants.

• Bracing—In some  cases, physicians recommend their patients to be fitted for a brace to  prevent the curve from worsening. A study supported by Shriners Hospitals for  Children and others, published in The New England Journal of Medicine,  indicates that this can be quite effective.

The Bracing in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Trial compared the risk of  curve progression in adolescents who wore a brace with those who did not. In  the study, 72 percent who received bracing were successful.* Those who wore  their brace an average of 13 hours a day had a success rate of 90 to 93  percent.

“Knowing—with confidence—that bracing is effective  changes the treatment paradigm,” said Matthew Dobbs, M.D., orthopaedic  surgeon at Shriners Hospitals for Children-St. Louis and lead investigator  for the Shriners Hospitals portion of the study. “We can now say, for a  specific patient population, that we can avoid the need for surgery through  bracing.”

The study is just one way Shriners Hospitals for Children changes lives  every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research  and outstanding medical education. Its 23 facilities throughout North America provide advanced care for children with  orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and  palate, regardless of the families’ ability to pay.

Learn More

Further facts are at shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.

*Treatment was considered successful  if the participant reached skeletal maturity with his or her curve remaining  under 50 degrees.