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Spinal Surgery

  • The most common spinal deformity is scoliosis.  Scoliosis involves a sideways curvature and twist to the spine.  It can have many causes but the most common form is the one seen in early adolescent females (males can also have scoliosis, but less frequently).  Diagnosis is made most often by physical examination.  Bending forward will usually exaggerate the curvature in the spine.  Growth plays a major role in the development and progression of scoliosis.  Those most at risk of progression are children with scoliosis who have not yet had their adolescent growth spurt. 

    Non-operative treatment is indicated for those who are at risk of progression of scoliosis.  Often this will involve the use of a brace to prevent progression. 

    Spinal deformity surgery is complex, demanding, and involves significant risks.  Despite this, significant improvements to the shape of the spine can be made. 

    Referrals to the spine unit are facilitated by up to date full length (36 inch cassette) standing x-rays.  X-rays that are taken lying down supine or prone are subject to more bending by the patient and can result in the appearance of a curve that is not structural, or alternatively can minimize the real size of a curve.