What is Congenital Scoliosis?
Congenital Scoliosis is a spinal deformity, where the sideways curve of the spine is caused at birth, often as a side effect of a birth defect. The vertebra of the spine can also become twisted or rotated causing the ribs to be pulled along in the same direction.
Congenital Scoliosis is rare, about 1 in every 10,000 newborns are affected, much less common than scoliosis appearing in adolescence. Congenital Scoliosis is also associated with issues such as kyphosis and lordosis.
Causes of Congenital Scoliosis
Congenital Scoliosis begins as the baby is in the womb, during its peak developmental stages. Common causes are:
- The bones (vertebrae) in the spine not forming normally.
- One or more vertebrae in the spine may be missing.
- Bones may have only been partially formed.
- Bones may not have proper separation from one another.
Common Symptoms and Signs
- Uneven shoulders, hips, and waist.
- Head rotating in one direction of as a result of rotation in the neck.
- Prominent ribs on one side.
- Overall body tilt to one side or another.
- Visible curving in the spine.
- In rare cases, spinal column issues can even produce weakness or numbness in different parts of the body.
When children are examined after birth congenital scoliosis can generally be caught, however for those patients who may be a bit older, should see a doctor and be examined in order to detect it properly. For newborns there are a few methods of treatment.
- Bracing: Non-surgical for those with curves of less than 25 degrees. These patients must constantly be followed up with and be monitored by their doctor. If the spine curve is worsening, then additional bracing may be required. Bracing helps straighten the back as well as reduces the level of pressure placed upon the child’s back.
There are a number of methods of surgery. During your consultation with Dr. Widmann, he will make a deliberation on the level of spinal correction which is needed for your child. Considering this there are a few methods of surgery that can be performed. In certain cases, the issue can have a lasting effect on the ribs and chest, so surgery may be required there as well.
- Growing Rods: Spinal surgery where rods are implanted, corrects curve and allows the spine to continue growing.
- Spinal Fusion: This should be done after the child has stopped growing. This will permanent stabilize the spine by fusing the vertebra together with metal implants to hold the curvature in place.
If you’re in need of spinal care for your newborn or child, don’t wait, be sure to contact Dr. Roger Widmann of the Hospital for Special Surgery today!