Understanding the problem
The spine has a series of normal curves when viewed from the side. These curves help to better absorb the loads applied to the spine from the weight of the body. The cervical spine (neck) and lumbar spine (lower back) have a normal inward curvature. The thoracic spine (upper back) has a normal outward curvature.
Kyphosis refers to the abnormally excessive curvature of the spine as it occurs in the cervical, thoracic and sacral regions.
Understanding who suffers
The individual bones (vertebrae) that make up a healthy spine look like cylinders stacked in a column. Kyphosis occurs when the vertebrae in the upper back become more wedge-shaped. This deformity can be caused by a variety of problems, including:
- Osteoporosis. This bone-thinning disorder can result in crushed vertebrae (compression fractures). Osteoporosis is most common in older adults, particularly women, and in people who have taken high doses of corticosteroids for long periods of time.
- Disk degeneration. Soft, circular disks act as cushions between spinal vertebrae. With age, these disks dry out and shrink, which often worsens kyphosis.
- Scheuermann’s disease. Also called Scheuermann’s kyphosis, this disease typically begins during the growth spurt that occurs before puberty. Boys are affected more often than are girls. The rounding of the back may worsen as the child finishes growing.
- Birth defects. If a baby’s spinal column doesn’t develop properly in the womb, the spinal bones may not form properly, causing kyphosis.
- Syndromes. Kyphosis in children can also be associated with certain syndromes, such as Marfan syndrome or Prader-Willi disease.
- Cancer and cancer treatments. Cancer in the spine can weaken vertebrae and make them more prone to compression fractures, as can chemotherapy and radiation cancer treatments.
- An increased curve in the upper spine also can be caused by slouching. Called postural kyphosis, this condition doesn’t involve any deformities in the spine. It’s most common in teenagers.
Potential Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptoms for patients with an abnormal kyphosis are normally:
- The appearance of poor posture with a hump appearance of the back
- Back pain
- Muscle fatigue and stiffness in the back.
- These symptoms remain fairly constant and do not become progressively worse with time.
- More severe situations where the patient may notice their symptoms worsening with time may require surgical intervention
Examinations Usually Required
During the physical exam, a doctor will check height, may ask to bend forward from the waist while viewing the spine from the side. In kyphosis, the rounding of the upper back may become more obvious in this position. Your doctor might also perform a neurological exam to check your reflexes and muscle strength.
Depending upon your signs and symptoms, you may be requested to undertake:
- Computerized tomography (CT scan)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Proposing Treatment and Why AIMIS
Spine surgery for kyphosis is recommended for patients whose spinal curve continues to progress or cause symptoms despite non-surgical treatment. Corrective surgery for kyphosis at a thoracic level is usually recommended when curves are larger than 80° to 90° when measured on x-rays. In cases of mid or lower back kyphosis for curves larger than 60° to 70°. Surgery is also an option for patients with disabling back pain or when kyphosis leads to compression of the spinal cord or nerves.
The goal of spinal reconstruction surgery is to decrease the patient’s pain and to place the spine in a more natural position.
AIMIS provides extensive expertise in spinal reconstruction surgery
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Reputable and Prestigious Surgeons
AIMIS’ skilled team of neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons and ancillary professionals has one of the leading experiences in the world for treating kyphosis. Our full team are consulted with each case to find the most suitable experienced doctor for the patient’s exact issue, to ensure the maximum potential outcome of treatment.
Getting More Information Before Moving Forward
You may have questions like:
- Can I get more information before I commit to this?
- Can I get a second opinion from you before I commit to this?
- How can I find out the cost before I have any obligation?
What AIMIS Can do:
AIMIS will provide a full review, diagnosis and potential surgical options for your condition, after receiving the relevant examinations and information from you. They will also provide an estimate for your surgical procedure before you decide.
AIMIS’ mission is to the provision of “true” healthcare for those who require it. It provides world leading surgeons using state of the art procedures to optimize potential surgical outcomes, whilst taking care of all arrangements so as to allow concentration on recovery.
AIMIS provide competitive prices for state of the art procedures. We also work with a large range of Insurance companies where your policy allows you to have surgery abroad.
Further information on the problem:
As kyphosis can progress, it may cause a more exaggerated hunchback. In rare cases, this can lead to compression of the spinal cord with neurologic symptoms including weakness, loss of sensation, or loss of bowel and bladder control. Severe cases of thoracic kyphosis can also limit the amount of space in the chest and cause cardiac and pulmonary problems leading to chest pain and shortness of breath.
Further Information on Increased Risk Groups
In addition to the risk group earlier in this page, additional groups at risk include:
- sports world cyclists and baseball catchers are at risk as they have to hold postures for long periods.
- amateur bodybuilders who over develop and tighten the pectoralis (chest) muscles neglecting the muscles in the upper back.
Further examination that maybe required or requested
Depending upon individual signs and symptoms, test required may include:
- X-rays. Plain X-rays are used to determine the degree of curvature and can detect deformities of the vertebrae, which helps identify the type of kyphosis.
- Computerized tomography (CT scan). If more detail is required, a CT scan which takes X-ray images from many different angles and then combines them to form cross-sectional images of internal structures.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). If deeper investigation is required an MRI of the spine is required. MRI uses radio waves and a very strong magnet to produce detailed images of both bone and soft tissues.
- Nerve tests in the case of experiencing numbness or muscle weakness, several tests that can determine how well nerve impulses are traveling between spinal cord and extremities.
Why AIMIS for this Surgery
AIMIS strives for excellence in delivering the best surgical outcomes, via the extensive expertise of its prestige surgeons, its technologies, its highly trained staff and superior facilities to provide an individualized and compassionate experience in a comfortable environment. All patients are treated with the individual care they deserve in an effort to provide the best chance of successful treatment.
Other Services Provided by AIMIS
In addition to its Innovative Healthcare, AIMIS provides seamless service along the way. From the start of your journey you’ll know the best flights to take, where you’ll be staying, what paperwork you will need. You will have a personal assistant assigned; from your pick up at the airport, to your accommodation, continuous assistance at your pre-consultation, through surgery and in your postsurgical care. Our Patients have said that they feel they have become “”part of our family”” and some even asked to stay a little longer! AIMIS is here to assist you in an all you requirements, allowing you to focus on your health and recovery.