Like other diseases, scoliosis, if not attended immediately, could lead to more severe problems later on. Early treatment of scoliosis will stop the curvature of the spine. The treatment’s main goal is to stop further curving of the spine and whenever possible the total eradication of scoliosis. There are several ways of treating scoliosis. Treatment will depend on age, mental and physical condition and the full cooperation of the patient. A lot of patience and determination is required in order to follow strictly the treatment program that the scoliosis doctor will prepare. This will ensure the success of the treatment plan.
The doctor will usually make observations for 4 to 6 months to see if the curving of the spine is progressing. The patient will then be advised to wear a brace if the curvature is determined to be progressing and reaching an idiopathic curve of between 20 to 29 degrees and continues to get worse. The decision to wear a brace will depend on the curvature of the spine and the ability of the patient to wear it for long period of time each day. Brace must suit the specific curvature that it needs to correct since they can be custom-made. The patient is required to wear the brace every day at the prescribed number hours until the end of the child’s growth. There are two types of braces. One is the Milwaukee brace which can be worn to correct any curvature of the spine and the other is thoracolumbusacralorthosis (TLSO) which corrects curvatures at or under the eighth vertebrae. It is also called an underarm brace.
Surgery is only recommended if the curvature is worsening and the curve reaches more than 45 degrees and after all the non-surgical procedures are exhausted. The scoliosis doctor Milwaukee uses the two main surgical methods in treating scoliosis. They are the anterior fusion which requires an incision at the side of the chest wall to facilitate the removal of a rib. The discs are then removed in order to loosen up the spine. Screws and a rod are put in place to straighten the spine and a bone is placed at the disc space so that fusion will take place which usually takes 6 to 12 months to complete.
Another method is the posterior fusion wherein a long incision is made at the back. Then, the muscles are removed from the spine so that there will be access to the bony elements. Screws are inserted in the spine and the rod is placed to control the curving of the spine. Bone is then added to the spine to provide fusion between the two bones which will take 6 to 12 months to complete. For severe deformity and very rigid curvature of the spine, the anterior fusion method is often recommended.
Other treatment methods have been used such as chiropractic manipulation, stimulation using electrical impulses and by taking nutritional supplementations but none has so far produced encouraging results. Exercise has also no effect in controlling curvatures but it helps in maintaining a healthy body.