Scoliosis

For expert scoliosis treatment, turn to the experienced team at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). We have decades of experience caring for people with scoliosis, offering treatment options such as bracing and scoliosis surgery. We will find the treatment solution that is right for your child.

The key to treating scoliosis successfully is early detection to begin treatment immediately. The LVHN team uses the latest technology to confirm a diagnosis to develop a customized treatment plan. We work with patients and families to find the treatment solution that improves symptoms, stops the progression of the curve and prevents deformity.

What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a curve in the spine that causes the spine to look like an “S” or a “C.” Doctors measure the spine to determine if a person has scoliosis. A curvature of 10 degrees or more is considered scoliosis. 

About scoliosis:

  • Causes: In 80 percent of the cases, the cause is unknown (idiopathic). Other times the cause may be congenital (occurs during fetal development) or neuromuscular (associated with neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy).
  • Treatment: Treatment options include bracing or surgery. Many people with scoliosis do not require treatment. 
  • Function: People with scoliosis can participate in any physical activity or sports.
  • Adults: Most people whose scoliosis continues into adulthood have normal function despite the curvature.

Why choose LVHN for scoliosis treatment?

When you come to LVHN, you will find:

  • Expert diagnosis: Our experienced team treats many people with scoliosis each year, giving us a high level of expertise in providing an accurate diagnosis and treatment. 
  • Full range of treatments: Scoliosis treatment typically involves bracing or surgery. We work with you and your child to customize a treatment plan.
  • Expert follow-up care: Adolescents may require ongoing monitoring during puberty, when most of the changes to the spine occur. Our caring team monitors your child closely to ensure we are providing effective, appropriate treatment.    

Scoliosis symptoms

Common signs of scoliosis include: 

  • Difference in shoulder, shoulder blade or hip height or position
  • Head not centered on the body
  • Difference in the way the arms hang beside the body while standing
  • Sides of the back appear different in height while bending forward

Scoliosis diagnosis 

After a medical history and physical examination, we use noninvasive imaging scans to confirm a diagnosis.

  • X-ray: An X-ray provides detailed pictures of internal tissues, bones and organs.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A large magnet and radio waves produce detailed images of the body.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: X-rays and computer technology produce detailed images of the body.

Scoliosis treatment

While we cannot cure scoliosis, we can stop the curve from worsening and prevent deformity:

  • Bracing: We use this method if the curve measures more than 25 to 30 degrees and your child is still growing. We work with you to find the right type of brace for your needs. The amount of time your child wears the brace depends on the severity of the curve.
  • Close monitoring: We perform repeated examinations to determine if the spine is continuing to curve.
  • Surgery: If the curve measures 45 degrees or more, or bracing is not slowing the progression of the curve, surgery may be an option. Our skilled surgeons fuse (join) the bony parts of the spine (called vertebra) together. We place rods with hooks, screws or wires to straighten the spine. Surgery prevents further progression of the curve, straightens the spine and improves appearance. 

Physical therapy

Our inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation specialists develop a customized plan to help people with spinal problems. Our goal is to help you return to your daily activities as quickly as possible.

Learn more about physical therapy options.