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Kyphosis

Sometimes referred to as "hunchback", Kyphosis is a curving of the spine that causes a bowing or rounding of the back, which leads to the hunchback look or posture deformities. Kyphosis can occur at any age and may be caused by various conditions. Adolescent Kyphosis, also known as Scheuermann's disease, is caused by the wedging together of several bones of the spine in a row. The cause of Scheuermann's disease is unknown.

Causes

Adult Kyphosis can be caused by:

  • Degenerative diseases of the spine such as arthritis or disc degeneration
  • Spondylolisthesis (slipping of one vertebra on another)
  • Fractures caused by osteoporosis
  • Injury or trauma
  • Poor posture during adolescence

Symptoms

In mild cases, Kyphosis may produce no noticeable signs or symptoms, however more serious Kyphosis may result in the following:

  • Difficulty breathing (in severe cases of Kyphosis)
  • Fatigue
  • Mild back pain
  • Round or hump back appearance
  • Tenderness and stiffness in the spine

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Kyphosis will include a physical examination to assess the curve of the spine both standing upright and while bending forward as well as possibly lying down so that it can be determined whether a curve is being caused by bad posture or a structural problem. An x-ray of the spine may be taken to measure how much the spine is curved. Other tests may be necessary to determine if the Kyphosis affecting your breathing or if there is a concern as to whether or not there is a possibly spinal tumor or infection.

Treatment

Treatment will depend on what caused the Kyphosis and the severity of the curve and whether or it is causing pain or other symptoms. The experts at SCCNS will evaluate each patient on an individual basis and give their recommendations as to whether they feel they can treat with conservative measures or whether surgery is necessary. Mild Kyphosis can usually be treated by wearing a back brace which will stop the curve from getting worse and is usually the preferred treatment for those whose bones are still growing. It is not recommended for adults who have stopped growing.

In more severe cases, corrective surgery may be necessary. A spinal surgery procedure can be performed if the Kyphosis is severe enough and is causing problems in other areas. Because spinal fusion surgery is a complicated procedure, it should only be performed by an expert in the field. Our neurosurgeons have performed hundreds of successful fusion procedures and will discuss your options with you and explain the details of the procedure so that you are able to make an educated decision in your treatment.

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