What is Kyphosis?
Kyphosis is an abnormal forward, rounding curvature of the back. Patients suffering from kyphosis will generally have a visible “hunchback”, despite being most common in older women, many children deal with this issue every year.
Kyphosis can present in young children without any symptoms, however patients commonly suffer from:
- Visible forward “hunchback” curvature of the spine.
- Back pain
- Back stiffness
- Issues with balance
- Compression fractures
- Issues with walking and mobility
- Muscle weakness
- Short stature or slow growth
Surgical measures are usually the last resort in the treatment of kyphosis. Children should first try treatments such as physical therapy or the use of back braces. If these non-surgical measures don’t make a difference, then surgery may be required. Certain factors doctors must consider before surgery are:
- Severity of the Curve:This is dependent on where the curve is located. In the mid back thoracic region, curves greater than 80 degrees are considered severe. In the mid-to-lower back area curves of 60-70 degrees are considered to be severe.
- Progression of the Curve: Some curves can get worse rapidly, in these instances surgery is vital.
- Balance: Leaning forward is a problem associated with the curve of kyphosis, if the child is leaning too far it can greatly affect balance and cause problems.
- Neurological Issues:Kyphosis can affect the nerves in the spine, as a result of the issues it causes within the spine itself. It can cause weakness, numbness, tingling in the extremities and even a pinched nerve.
Depending on these factors the surgeon will make a determination of what surgery will work best for you and your child.
- Osteotomy: Bones are cut, in order to correct angular deformities. The ends of the vertebrae are then realigned, reducing the curvature. To complete the procedure surgeons will either use spinal fusion or certain instruments to hold the vertebrae together.
With Spinal Fusion the spine will be fused together the strongest, however, it will not allow the child to continue to grow, therefore this option is best for older children or teens who have completed most of their growth cycle.
The other option using instrumentation uses cables, growing rods, screws and plates can be done alone or in conjunction with fusion. When done alone, they will allow the patient to continue their growth cycle. Regardless these measures will be discussed along with your surgeon and we will work for the benefits of the patient. If your child is suffering from Kyphosis be sure to contact Dr. Roger Widmann today and find out if surgical measures are right for you and your child.