Adult Scoliosis & Deformity Specialist

Woodbury Spine  -  - Orthopaedic Spine Specialist

Woodbury Spine

Orthopaedic Spine Specialists & Orthopaedic Spine Surgeons located in Woodbury, NJ

Adult scoliosis is a problem where your spine has an abnormal curve to the left, right, or forward. If you have scoliosis and it's causing you problems or deformity, orthopaedic spine specialist Evan O'Brien, MD, and Chris Hennessey, PA, at Woodbury Spine, can help. At their practice in Woodbury, New Jersey, they use state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging technology to assess scoliosis and cutting-edge techniques like the Medicrea® patient-specific custom rod to accurately correct your spinal deformity. To benefit from their expertise in treating adult scoliosis and deformity, call Woodbury Spine to schedule an appointment today.

Adult Scoliosis & Deformity Q & A

What are adult scoliosis and deformity?

adult scoliosis and deformity

While your spine naturally curves frontward and backward, it should descend in a straight line vertically. Adult scoliosis and deformity occur when your spine has an abnormal curve to the left or right.  Kyphoscoliosis is when your spine has an excessive forward bend.

In most cases, scoliosis is idiopathic, meaning there's no definable cause for your deformity. While scoliosis typically starts becoming apparent in adolescents, adults can develop the condition as a result of degenerative spinal disorders that affect the symmetry of your spine.

Some adults have scoliosis because the deformity was not discovered when they were younger, or they did not have scoliosis treatment at an early enough stage. 

Scoliosis treatments have developed over the years and you might benefit from some of the new options for treating the condition in adulthood.

What symptoms do adult scoliosis and deformity cause?

The primary symptom of adult scoliosis and deformity is chronic back pain.

If your abnormal spinal curvature severely affects your thoracic spine (upper back), you may experience difficulties breathing, and your lungs and heart may not work as they should. That can affect your energy levels and cause a range of health problems due to the lack of oxygen in your body.

There might be a lack of symmetry to your body, with one hip or shoulder appearing higher than the other. You might look like you're leaning to one side and have problems walking, if your scoliosis has made one leg shorter.

To assess adult scoliosis and deformity, Dr. O'Brien requires full-length X-rays taken when you're standing. These X-rays show the back to front (posterior/anterior or AP) and lateral (side) curvature. 

Side-bending X-rays might also be necessary to help assess spinal flexibility. In some cases, Dr. O'Brien needs to see a CT or MRI scan.

How are adult scoliosis and deformity treated?

Non-surgical treatments for adult scoliosis and deformity are often highly successful. These treatments include:

  • Moist heat
  • Pain medications 
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Medication for muscle spasms
  • Physical therapy and exercise
  • Pain management injections

You might require surgery for adult scoliosis and deformity, if your back pain is persistent and affecting your quality of life. Surgery is most likely if you have a thoracic (upper back) curve that's greater than 50 degrees or the curvature is affecting your heart and lung function.

What does surgery for adult scoliosis and deformity involve?

Spinal surgery for adult scoliosis and deformity may include taking out one or more of your intervertebral discs, a process known as a discectomy. Dr. O'Brien might also perform an osteotomy to remove part of the bone to loosen the spine in order to correct the deformity.  Then a spinal fusion with rods and screws would be performed to hold the spine in the corrected position while the bone heals.

Dr. O'Brien uses a Medicrea rod for adult scoliosis and deformity, which is a custom patient-specific rod designed for your particular anatomy. A graft helps to promote new bone growth and eventually fuses the bones on either side permanently.

Find out more about effective ways to treat adult scoliosis and deformity by calling Woodbury Spine today to schedule an appointment.