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HSS' Dr. Widmann Tackles Questions On Pediatric Scoliosis

Dr. Roger Widmann of HSS.
Dr. Roger Widmann of HSS. Photo Credit: Hospital for Special Surgery

PARAMUS, N.J. -- HSS orthopedic surgeon Dr. Roger Widmann answers questions about scoliosis in the third part of a five segment series.

My son was recently told that he will need surgery for his scoliosis as a young athlete and is concerned he won’t be able to play soccer and baseball. Are his concerns warranted?

Historically, six months after posterior spinal fusion surgery, patients are cleared to return to sports. Due to a more stable surgical construct, patients can now play sports earlier, within three to four months, depending on a review of post-operative x-rays and a clinical exam.

My child has been given a back brace to treat her scoliosis. Any tips on how to get her to wear it?

Success in brace wear depends on commitment by the orthopedic surgeon, the orthotist, the family and the child. Sometimes, knowing that the brace is the only thing that can help control a curve and avoid needing surgery is enough motivation.

I suffered idiopathic scoliosis as a young girl and now have a daughter. Is this type of scoliosis genetic? Is any type of scoliosis hereditary?

Although the cause of idiopathic scoliosis is multifactorial, there does seem to be a significant genetic component. Adult individuals with idiopathic scoliosis need to have their children checked for scoliosis during their childhood. Of the various types of scoliosis, only idiopathic scoliosis has a hereditary component.

Do more females suffer from scoliosis than males?

Idiopathic scoliosis is seen more commonly in females than males, at a ratio of 8:1.

My child was diagnosed with scoliosis and is currently wearing a back brace. How will her growth and development be affected?

There is no evidence to suggest that a brace for scoliosis will interfere with normal growth and development. There is some evidence that the growth of the curve will be slowed or arrested. In terms of physical growth, children with scoliosis lose a small amount of height due to the curvature of their spine. As the brace is worn to halt or slow the progression of the curvature, it helps to lessen the amount of growth loss from an increase in the curvature.

Dr. Roger Widmann is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and the Chief of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery at Hospital for Special Surgery. He practices at both the HSS Outpatient Center in Paramus and the hospital’s main campus in New York.

Daily Voice produced this article as part of a paid Content Partnership with our advertiser, Hospital for Special Surgery

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