Can Children with Scoliosis Live Normal Lives?
In an interview with the Health Channel, Dr. Georgiy Brosuvanik, a Spine Surgeon with Baptist Health South Florida, assures that kids with scoliosis live normal lives with minimal medical complications, contrary to popular belief.
Dr. Brosuvanik asserts that a lot of what we understand about scoliosis is either urban legend or just wrong. He says that it is okay for kids with scoliosis to, “wear backpacks on one side, it’s okay to slouch, these kids can play normal sports, they can have normal pregnancies, they don’t have more back pain, they live normal lives, and in reality, if these kids don’t bend over and someone looks kind of over the horizon you can’t even tell.”
Dr. Brosuvanik then goes on to talk about when surgery is an appropriate treatment for kids with scoliosis. The severity of the scoliosis depends on how large of an angle the spine curves. Using x-rays, a horizontal line is drawn above the top of the curve and below the curve and the angle between those lines is calculated.
Historically, an angle at 40 degrees would be treated by putting a child in a brace. Over 55 degrees, kids are offered surgery to treat it. Dr. Brosuvanik says that he disagrees with that approach. “I’m a little hesitant to say that kids who have over 55 degrees need surgery. I would watch it and I would make sure that there is no progression. If there is progression and it’s quick, especially during the time of puberty, then it is reasonable to consider surgery, but I do not think that kids who have 55 degrees or more will universally require an operation. It’s a big operation, so you’d really have to have a good reason to fix that poor kid’s back,” he explains. He says that there are multiple studies that show that a curve at 55 degrees does not always get worse and does not universally require surgery.
Watch the full segment of Dr. Georgiy Brosuvanik dispelling misconceptions about childhood scoliosis, here: https://youtu.be/hPvdLtGO6I8