Lumbar scoliosis refers to an abnormal sideways curve in the lower (or lumbar) portion of the spine. Lumbar scoliosis can occur as a result of infantile or congenital scoliosis in infants and degenerative scoliosis in older adults, but it most commonly affects adolescent patients with idiopathic scoliosis, which presents no known cause.
Lumbar scoliosis is usually characterized by a distinctive ‘C’ shaped curve in the lower section of the spine, also known as the lumbar vertebrae. Lumbar scoliosis may occur by itself, or it may occur in conjunction with thoracic scoliosis, which typically presents with an ‘S’ shape to the spine as the two curves form in different directions.
In most cases, lumbar scoliosis becomes apparent during early to mid-childhood. However, in cases of adult degenerative scoliosis, it may also occur along with or as the result of other related conditions, such as lumbar spinal stenosis or osteoporosis.
The symptoms of lumbar scoliosis differ from person to person, and depend on a number of factors, including age, the severity of the curve, the location of the curve, and more. Some patients experience little to no pain even after years with the condition, while others present with pain right away.
Some symptoms of lumbar scoliosis include:
Lumbar scoliosis is typically identified with a combination of visual inspection and X-rays. Using Southwest Scoliosis Institute’s advanced low-dose X-ray imaging system, the physician is able to determine the exact nature and severity of the curve while delivering an extremely low dose of radiation.
If additional imaging is required (such as images of the nerves or spinal cord), the physician may order additional imaging tests, such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
In most cases, lumbar scoliosis can be addressed with a brace, but in cases where the patient’s curve has progressed to the point that they are in pain, surgery may be necessary. Surgeries to fix lumbar scoliosis are complex, multistep procedures, but Richard Hostin, MD, Shyam Kishan, MD and Kathyrn Wiesman, MD are specially trained and have years of experience performing these types of complex spine surgeries.
The most common type of surgery to address lumbar scoliosis is called spinal fusion, which involves inserting rods and screws (known as instrumentation) into the vertebrae to prevent the spinal curvature from progressing.
If you or your loved one is suffering from scoliosis, there is hope. We can help. Call Southwest Scoliosis Institute at 214-308-0227 to make an appointment.