Scoliosis and Spinal Curvature Disorders

Advanced Care and Treatment of Scoliosis and Spinal Curvature Disorders

Specialists at Loyola Medicine’s spine program take an integrated approach to treating scoliosis and spinal curvature disorders, combining the expertise of neurologists, neurosurgeons and orthopaedic specialists. The spine specialists at Loyola are some of the most experienced in the Chicago area and perform more than 800 spinal surgeries annually.

A healthy spine has gentle forward and backward curves to it; but a severe spinal curvature in any direction can eventually limit your mobility, cause dyspnea (breathing problems), ataxia (coordination problems) or result in serious back pain. The main types of curvature problems are:

  • Kyphosis — An abnormally rounded upper back
  • Lordosis (swayback) — An inward curve at the lower back
  • Scoliosis — A sideways curve that makes the spine appear S-shaped or C-shaped from the back

Your curvature problem may have been present at birth (congenital). The most common type of scoliosis is idiopathic adolescent scoliosis, which is first observed in patients between 10 and 18 years of age and comes from an unknown cause (idiopathic).

Why Choose Loyola for Treatment of Scoliosis and Spinal Curvature Disorders?

The spinal deformity and scoliosis clinic at Loyola has expertise in providing the most advanced surgical care for patients with these conditions. Loyola’s orthopaedic spine specialists are experienced in many advanced treatment options using the latest technology. In 90 percent of cases, if you have no permanent damage to the nerves or spinal cord, Loyola’s spine specialists can restore proper alignment and movement.

Loyola is one of only a few centers in the United States performing an outpatient procedure called vertebroplasty, in which injections of methyl methacrylate paste prevent the vertebrae in the spinal column from collapsing due to osteoporosis or other bone-related disorders. As a result of the procedure, patients experience relief from severe chronic back pain without the need for narcotic medications or major back surgery.

How are Scoliosis and Spinal Curvature Disorders Diagnosed?

Curvature problems are usually visible and can be spotted by a trained specialist who looks for extreme curves, a hump or uneven waist or shoulders. Patients often have trouble moving certain ways and may experience back pain. Further evaluation will be made with imaging tests, which may include X-ray or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). 

What Treatment Options are Available for Scoliosis and Spinal Curvature Disorders?

Depending on the type and severity of your curvature problem, your Loyola spine specialist will consider a range of advanced treatment options for your particular condition. Mild curvatures may not require any treatment at all, while more severe problems could require more aggressive treatment, including surgery

Your Loyola spine doctor may first recommend non-surgical treatment options to improve your pain and range of motion. These techniques may include bracing, epidural steroid injections (ESI), exercises and physical therapy.

Surgery may be recommended by your surgeon when other options will not work or have failed. If spine surgery is required, you will be treated by an experienced, fellowship-trained surgeon who specializes in spinal curvature disorders and scoliosis. Our experienced, multidisciplinary team will provide the most advanced care for your particular case and offers the following surgical treatment options:

  • Artificial disk replacement
  • Halo-gravity traction
  • Implantation of screws, hooks or rods
  • Kyphoplasty

We offer advanced intraoperative imaging technology so that our surgeons will have detailed, real-time images of your spine to guide them as they operate. Whenever possible, Loyola’s multidisciplinary team will recommend minimally invasive treatment options with less time in the hospital and quicker recovery.