Each month, SRS will post one adult and one pediatric question and answer as the Questions of the Month. If you would like to submit a question about a spine deformity condition or treatment, please complete the Ask a Doc Online Form.
Featured Pediatric Question of the Month
"Many children in Northern Ireland go on long waiting lists for surgery. Is there a best time for surgery? At what degrees, surely the higher the degree and severity of this, makes surgery more complex and harder?"
Karen, United Kingdom
Thank you for your question. The best time for surgery depends on the age and type of deformity. If a patient has idiopathic scoliosis (no other conditions that created the curvature of the spine), it is generally recommended to consider surgery when the curve progresses above 50°. The goal is to correct the curvature if possible before it progresses to 90-100° where it can potentially have an impact on heart and lung function. Curves that progress beyond 100° to 120° will sometimes require traction before the surgery to slowly decrease the severity of the curve and/or perform the surgery in a multi-stage fashion (ex: on two separate days). The larger curves (>100°) can carry a higher risk of neurologic complications (losing strength or sensation in the legs), so it is generally recommended to perform surgery prior to the curve progressing too much if possible.
For more detailed information, please visit Surgery for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis FAQs ».
Featured Adult Question of the Month
"In idiopathic scoliosis adults is there a correlation between DDD [degenerative disc disease] and other joint OA [osteoarthritis]? If so, what is percentage?"
In general, DDD related to scoliosis is not related to other joint OA. Patients with scoliosis generally get DDD in the long term at the bottom of their scoliosis construct.