scoliosis (sko?le-o'sis) [Gr. skoliosis, crookedness]
A lateral curvature of the spine. It usually consists of two curves, the original abnormal curve and a compensatory curve in the opposite direction. Scoliosis may be functional, structural, or idiopathic. Functional (postural) scoliosis usually occurs as a result of a discrepancy in leg length and corrects when the patient bends toward the convex side. Structural scoliosis is related to vertebral bone deformities and thus does not correct with posture changes. Idiopathic scoliosis (the most common kind) may be transmitted as an autosomal dominant or multifactorial trait. scoliotic
Scoliosis rarely produces any symptoms until it is well established; then backache, fatigue, and dyspnea from ventilatory compromise may occur. Diagnosis is based on physical examination, anteroposterior and lateral spinal x-rays, and by using the Cobb method to measure the angle of curvature.
Scoliosis may be treated through the use of a brace to straighten the abnormal spinal curvature or with corrective orthopedic surgery (e.g., the placement of a supportive rod along the spine or spinal fusion).
Muscle strengthening exercises should be done daily while in and out of the brace. Follow-up assessment and brace adjustment should be done periodically. As the skeleton matures, brace wear is gradually reduced to night-time use only. Surgery is indicated for scoliosis that progresses despite bracing. Postoperative visits are required for several months to monitor correction stability. Provisions are made to assist the adolescent and family to meet the psychosocial needs associated with the illness. The patient and family are taught about treatment management (cast-care, brace-use, traction, electrical stimulation, or surgery), exercises, activity level, skin care, prevention of complications, and breathing exercises. When necessary, preoperative teaching is provided, including preanesthesia breathing exercises, post-operative use of an incentive spirometer, surgical pain management, and prevention of thromboembolic or other complications. Following surgery, all general patient care concerns apply.
Upon discharge, home-health care may be needed, and the school-age child or adolescent will require education in the home until he or she is able to return to school. Activity and activity limitations are explained, and diversional activities suggested. The patient is encouraged to provide self-care as much as possible. Wearing his/her own clothes, washing and styling his/her own hair, and applying make-up help to enhance morale. Educational and support resources are discussed with the patient and family. Pediatricians, pediatric nurse practitioners, school nurses, and other health professionals caring for children should include screening for scoliosis during physical examinations.
Scoliosis due to fibrous scar tissue contraction resulting from necrosis.
Scoliosis present at birth, usually the result of defective embryonic development of the spine.
Scoliosis in the lumbar spine caused by tilting of the pelvis caused by a hip disorder.
Scoliosis following empyema and retraction of one side of the chest.
Scoliosis that is caused not by actual spinal deformity but by another condition such as unequal leg lengths. The curve reduces when the other condition is ameliorated.
Scoliosis due to habitually assumed improper posture or position.
Scoliosis caused by infection or inflammation near the spine, resulting in local muscle spasm.
Scoliosis due to hip disease.
Scoliosis due to weakening of the spinal muscles.
A structural scoliosis caused by congenital or acquired neurological disorders.
Scoliosis from tilting of the head because of visual defects or extraocular muscle imbalance.
Scoliosis caused by bony deformity of the spine. See: structural scoliosis
Scoliosis due to paralysis of muscles.
An acute side shifting of the lumbar spine, usually away from the side of pathology. The body is attempting to move a nerve root away from a bulging intervertebral disk herniation.
Scoliosis due to rickets.
The patient assumes a laterally bent posture to reduce sciatic nerve symptoms.
Scoliosis due to a difference in the length of the legs.
An irreversible lateral spinal curvature that has a fixed rotation. The vertebral bodies rotate toward the convexity of the curve; the rotation results in a posterior rib hump in the thoracic region on the convex side of the curve. In structural scoliosis, the spine does not straighten when the patient bends.