A 12-year old female child was brought by her parents with complaints of spinal deformity. She was diagnosed to have idiopathic adolescent double major scoliosis, a condition that leads to bending of the spine as seen from the front [figure A]. She underwent a thorough clinical examination along with assessment of x-rays of the spine.
She was advised to undergo surgery so as to correct the problem and prevent further deterioration. However, due to her young age and misplaced apprehensions for surgery, the parents could not gather courage to go ahead with the surgery. Over the subsequent 1 year, her spinal deformity progressively increased from 60 degrees to 98 degrees [figures B and C].
At this stage, the parents ultimately decided to go ahead with the surgery. The surgery was successfully carried out by Dr. Yogesh K. Pithwa, the best spine specialist in Bangalore . The deformity was safely and satisfactorily corrected [figure D]. Though the delay in the spine surgery by one year increased the magnitude of the ultimate surgery, it ultimately led to a happy and satisfied patient and her parents. In fact, the patient gained a height of 20cm due to straightening of her ‘crooked’ spine by the surgery [figures E and F].
Spinal deformity has an incidence of 3-5 per 1000 in the general population. Many of these problems can be picked up at an early stage by a simple test. This is done by asking the person to fold his hands and bend himself forwards without bending his knees. Observation can then be done from behind so as to look for any asymmetrical bump on any side of the midline. Picking up these problems at an early stage facilitates simple treatment plans such as bracing. In fact, this is such a simple test, it is done as a school screening test in the Western countries to pick up these problems at an early stage.
At a later stage, a spinal surgery may be required. The magnitude of the surgery too, increases with the severity of the problem. Hence, it would be better not to procrastinate in these cases. In fact, very severe progressive cases can pose a risk to life as well, since these would compromise the thoracic cavity and consequently, lungs and heart that are housed within the thoracic cavity.
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