Congenital Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine has excessive curvature due to abnormalities of the vertebrae. In most cases, the vertebrae become overdeveloped in utero around 4 – 6 weeks of gestation. Though it is often difficult to pin point an absolute cause of congenital scoliosis, studies show that women that abuse drugs and alcohol are more likely to give birth to children with similar abnormalities. Most doctors suggest that this condition is not hereditary or passed down through generations.
Congenital Scoliosis has three classifications: Failure of formation, Failure of segmentation, and a combination of both. Failure of formation usually results in Hemiverterbra (portion of a vertebra) which is discussed in further below.
The severity of this condition depends upon the location and quantity of anomalies. Some people suffer from mild scoliosis and only learn of this condition when doctors analyze the results of an x-ray. This can be a serious condition as extreme abnormalities can lead to issues with the lungs or neurological problems. Unfortunately, congenital scoliosis can be a progressive condition, and symptoms can worsen or intensify if left untreated. Patients that suffer from Congenital scoliosis are also more likely to face issues with major organ function like cardiac abnormalities, urinary problems, and intraspinal abnormalities.
One of the more common abnormalities is called hemivertebra. A wedge shaped, or half vertebrae to be considered a developmental anomaly in which one side of a vertebra is incompletely developed.
Modern tests like MRI scanning, echocardiogram and ultrasounds will help doctors understand the severity of your condition and will impact your treatment approach.
Moderate to severe cases of congenital scoliosis typically require surgical treatment. Obviously, anyone with this condition should seek multiple opinions to see if surgery is the best option. The sooner this condition is diagnosed the higher the success rate for treatment. The treatment plan usually depends on the likeliness of progression to occur.
Non surgical treatments include exercise, physical therapy and the use of orthotic devices.
Consult a specialist to discuss your treatment options and consider finding a support group to communicate with other people that have had experience raising children with congenital scoliosis.
Written By: Updated: October 21,2011