Home » Spine Conditions » Scoliosis » Thoracolumbar scoliosis overview
Thoracolumbar scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that includes the vertebrae of the lower thoracic (mid back) and upper lumbar (lower back) regions. This type of scoliosis is often congenital, which means that it forms during the third to sixth week in utero and is generally detectable at birth. It also can be neuromuscular in nature, meaning that it forms as a secondary result of a condition, such as spina bifida or cerebral palsy. Still, others are affected by this form of curvature as idiopathic scoliosis, for which the cause is unclear.
Treatment for thoracolumbar scoliosis
Treatment for abnormal curvature that encompasses both the thoracic and lumbar regions of the spine will depend on a number of factors, including:
- The underlying cause of the curvature
- The severity of the curvature
- The presence of other conditions, such as neuromuscular disorders
- The age and overall health of the patient
- Whether bodily functions, including breathing, are affected by the curvature
- The chance that the curvature will progress
People with mild curvature might not require treatment beyond regular monitoring to ensure that the curve is not progressing. Those with more severe curvature might require surgery. Surgery for thoracolumbar scoliosis often takes the form of spinal fusion with instrumentation, which corrects the curvature and stabilizes the affected vertebral segments.
Early diagnosis is key
The earlier thoracolumbar scoliosis is detected, the more likely it will be that a spine specialist can help. Some people find that they can lead perfectly happy, healthy, active lives using physical therapy and other nonsurgical methods of treatment. Every case is different, but the importance of early detection is universally important.
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