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SCOLIOSIS

Our Specialty is Scoliosis

12 million people worldwide are affected by scoliosis, spine pain, and other spinal injuries or conditions. Many people have some degree of curvature of the spine, or scoliosis, yet experience little or no discomfort.

3 percent of individuals with progressive curvature may eventually experience severe problems that can include back pain, spinal problems and nerve compression causing numbness, weakness and leg pain.

At Southwest Scoliosis Institute, we focus on finding the right treatment for our scoliosis patients

At Southwest Scoliosis Institute, our fellowship-trained, board-certified orthopedic spine surgeons, Richard Hostin, MD; Ioannis Alexander Avramis, MD; and Shyam Kishan, MD, specialize in treatment of scoliosis for children and adults. Our experienced surgical and nursing team cares for people with all types of scoliosis — from mild to the most severe cases.

Our team of specialists determine optimal treatment for you or your child based on the severity of the spinal curve, where the curve occurs in the spine, and the age and stage of progression. Our mission is to minimize surgical risks associated with scoliosis, spine pain and spinal deformity. Only a handful of U.S. surgeons have the extensive experience and interest in specializing in these difficult procedures.

In many cities, no orthopedic surgeon specializes in the care of adults and children with scoliosis; therefore, many people who could benefit from the surgery are unaware of the opportunity to improve the condition. While many patients with scoliosis believe there is no treatment option available or that as an adult, their scoliosis cannot be treated, Southwest Scoliosis Institute offers new hope.

What causes scoliosis?

The causes of scoliosis are not entirely understood. In fact, according to the Scoliosis Research Society, a specific cause is not found in 8 of 10 cases. While many cases of scoliosis are thought to be genetic, there is no single cause that is widely agreed upon. “We have a number of observations and findings, but there’s no unified theory,” says Dr. Hostin. “We’re hindered in that we can’t take all of the observations and put them into a road map that explains why one person with a curve will progress to need complex surgical procedure, while another with a curve that’s seemingly the same reaches adulthood and doesn’t need surgery.”

Several observations do exist:

  • Heredity – Scoliosis tends to run in families and presents with different effects in each generation, perhaps even skipping generations.
  • Degeneration – Adult scoliosis can be caused by disk degeneration, osteoporosis or osteomalacia, a softening of the bones.
  • Spinal cord injury – Scoliosis can appear following spinal surgery or a spinal cord injury or trauma. Additionally, patients who had polio in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s may experience scoliosis as a result of paralysis.
  • Congenital – Scoliosis can result from improper formation of vertebrae during fetal development.
  • Neuromuscular – Abnormal nerve or muscle function can result in scoliosis.

Research is being conducted to identify specific genes associated with scoliosis in the hope that we will be better able to predict which curves are at highest risk for progression. “Scoliosis is thought to be genetic and a result of expression of multiple genes; however, it has variable penetrance, meaning that in each generation there is a variability in how strongly the genes are expressed, which determines how severe the curve is,” explains Dr. Kishan. “Scoliosis tends to run in families, but it tends to have variable effects in each generation. That is, a mother may have a mild curve who has a daughter with a severe curve, or a mother with a severe curve may have grandchildren who then have scoliosis, but the intervening generation didn’t exhibit any significant problems.”

What are the symptoms of scoliosis?

Scoliosis can be a hidden disorder with no obvious signs of curvature, or it can cause great discomfort, pain and disability. Some patients have undetected scoliosis for years until the curve starts to increase, causing pain and difficulty. “We think of scoliosis as being a childhood disease and are generally taught that it is such. In fact, most commonly, scoliosis is diagnosed in the juvenile and adolescent stages of 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 years of age,” observes Dr. Kishan. “However, adult onset or degenerative scoliosis, which we think develops as a result of disk degeneration, is probably an entirely separate entity from what we commonly think of as adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.” Some symptoms include:

  • One shoulder that appears to be higher than the other
  • A pelvis that appears to be tilted
  • Any imbalance in the rib cage or other deformities along the back

In more advanced cases, scoliosis patients have reported pain, limited movement, difficulty breathing and headaches.

Is scoliosis worse in girls and women?

The natural history of the disease in women is different than in men. Overall, about the same number of men and women are diagnosed with scoliosis, but young women diagnosed as adolescents or young adults face a progression rate of seven to eight times higher than boys. For degenerative scoliosis, the Southwest Scoliosis Institute has helped hundreds of women overcome the debilitating effects of the disease.

We can help

From the first time you walk into our offices, you will feel at ease. You will talk directly to one of our orthopedic physicians, who will take the time to listen and understand the complexities of your situation and perform a detailed evaluation. Then he will review your X-rays and other radiological exams with you, in detail, and determine a specific diagnosis. After you are well informed, together you will investigate the right treatment plan for you. If your physician feels surgery is not the right decision in your case, he’ll tell you that, too, and recommend a nonsurgical remedy as a first course of treatment.

“We measure our success by our patients’ expectations of success,” says Dr. Hostin. “We commonly receive letters and pictures from our patients telling us how we have been a significant part in their recovery and how much the quality of their lives has improved.”

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“I was very fortunate to have Dr. Avramis for my scoliosis surgery. Recuperation went very well and without incident. After only six months, I am back to (carefully) doing what I want, including yard work and bicycling.” – Robert Wagner

If you are an adult living with scoliosis or have a child with scoliosis and need a physician who specializes in orthopedic surgery, call the Southwest Scoliosis Institute at 214-556-0565 to make an appointment today.