Essay/Term paper: Scoliosis
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Everyone's spine has curves. These curves produce the normal rounding of
the shoulder and the sway of the lower back. A spine with scoliosis has abnormal
curves with a rotational deformity. This means that the spine turns on its axis
like a corkscrew.
Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine which may have its onset in
infancy but is most frequently discovered in adolescence. It is more common in
females by a 2:1 ratio. However, when curves in excess of 30 degrees are
evaluated, females are more frequently affected by a ration of approximately10:1.
The cause of the most common form of scoliosis; idiopathic scoliosis. is
unknown, but there have been hereditary factors discovered that are present.
Scoliosis causes shoulder, trunk and waistline "asymmetry". In mild
forms, the condition may be barely noticed; however, in severe forms there is
significant disfigurement, back pain and postural fatigue, and it may be
associated with heart failure. Fortunately the majority of scoliosis cases need
only close follow-up to watch for worsening of the curve. Some cases require
more aggressive treatment which could include surgery.
The non-operative treatment of scoliosis involves observing the
deformity with examinations and repeated x-rays. Under certain circumstances,
when spinal growth remains, a brace may be used in combination with follow-up x-
rays. Physical therapy exercises have not been shown to be effective treatment
The most common surgical treatment for scoliosis is a spine fusion using
special stainless steel rods, hooks, and a bone graft. The rods are attached to
the spine with hooks and the curved portion of the spine is carefully
straightened. Then, small strips of bone graft are placed over the spine to fuse
it in a straight position. As the bone graft heals over the next several months,
the spine becomes solid and will not curve again. But the part of the spine that
has not been fused will still be flexible, and allow nearly normal overall
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