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Scoliosis of the Spine

Diagnosing Scoliosis of the Spine

In order to make a scoliosis diagnosis, your doctor will:
  • Ask you about your medical and family history
  • Perform a physical exam
  • Order tests.
An x-ray of the spine can also help your doctor decide if you have scoliosis. The x-ray will allow your doctor to measure the curve of your spine in degrees (such as 25 degrees) and see its location, shape, and pattern.

Current Treatment Options

Treatment for scoliosis is based on:
  • The person's age
  • How much more he or she is likely to grow
  • The type of scoliosis
  • The degree and pattern of the curve.
Your doctor may recommend observation, surgery, or bracing to treat scoliosis of the spine.
Observation is used for people who have a curve of less than 25 degrees and who are still growing. The doctor will check the curve every four to six months to see if it is getting better or worse.

(Click Scoliosis Treatment for more information.)
Doctors use surgery to correct a curve or stop it from getting worse when the:
  • Person is still growing
  • Curve is more than 45 degrees
  • Curve is getting worse.
Surgery often involves fusing together two or more bones in the spine. During surgery, the doctor may also put in a metal rod or other device, which is called an implant. The implants stay in the body and help keep the spine straight after surgery.
(Click Surgery for Scoliosis for more information about surgical treatment options.)
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