Innovative, Effective Care for Spinal Deformities

University Hospitals’ spine specialists are leaders in the surgical treatment of spinal deformities. We are the only health system in Northeast Ohio to offer a minimally invasive procedure known as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, or VATS, to correct spinal irregularities. VATS has resulted in many successful outcomes with less discomfort and faster recoveries.

However, surgery is not always necessary for spinal deformities. Our multidisciplinary care teams offer many other treatments to correct your condition that can decrease pain while boosting function, self-esteem and the overall quality of your life.

Accurate Diagnosis of Spinal Deformities

Two of the most common spinal deformities treated at University Hospitals include:

  • Scoliosis: A condition that causes the spine to curve sideways. Idiopathic scoliosis, which does not have a known cause is the most common type of scoliosis.
  • Kyphosis: When the spine bends forward and produces a rounded back deformity, kyphosis occurs. While this condition may affect the cervical and lumbar spine, it is most common in the thoracic or middle spine.

Deformities of the spine can develop during growth in adolescence or as a result of aging. Our team of spine specialists is dedicated to treating these spinal deformities through the most advanced procedures and technologies.

The accurate diagnosis of a spinal deformity is the key to an effective treatment plan. If you or your child are showing any of the following symptoms of spinal deformities, diagnostic testing will be necessary.

  • Feeling “off balance”
  • Pain and difficulty walking
  • Leg issues
  • Neurogenic claudication, or the compression of the spinal nerves in the lumbar or lower spine
  • Sciatica

Our spine specialists will likely conduct one or a combination of the following diagnostic tests:

  • Computed tomography (CT) scans: CT scans use a series of X-rays and show a layered image of your spine that can help pinpoint a spinal deformity.
  • Pulmonary function test: Since severe cases of kyphosis and scoliosis may hinder breathing, a pulmonary function test may be performed.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRIs use powerful magnetic fields, radio waves and a computer to provide us with a more in-depth view of your spine.
  • X-rays: X-rays will be taken with you in a standing position so we can see your entire spine from the back and side and properly evaluate a spinal deformity.
  • EOS X-rays: As an alternative to X-rays, EOS X-ray machines capture information-rich images using a significantly lower amount of radiation than conventional X-ray and CT scan equipment.

Conservative Approach to Treating Spinal Deformities

If you are diagnosed with scoliosis, kyphosis or another type of spinal deformity, our team will first review a range of considerations. The severity of your symptoms and pain, particular spinal deformity, age and nerve compression will be major considerations in your treatment plan. Whenever possible, our spinal team takes a conservative approach to treating spinal deformities by recommending treatments such as:

  • Braces: A back brace may be prescribed to help prevent the progression of scoliosis or kyphosis.
  • Medications: Medications like ibuprofen can relieve pain and discomfort.
  • Monitoring: If your spinal deformity is minor, you may not require any other treatment other than monitoring by a spine specialist.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help strengthen your spine muscles and improve posture through a series of special exercises.

Only Medical Center in Northeast Ohio to Offer VATS

Surgery is only an option if your spinal deformity continues to progress with conservative treatments or you have a serious deformity that measures 45 degrees or more. If surgery is necessary, our orthopedic surgeons will likely perform VATS - video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery.

As the only center in the area that offers VATS for patients with a spinal deformity, we are highly experienced in performing these procedures on patients of all ages. This innovative surgical technique allows for less discomfort and faster healing.

Contact University Hospitals Today

For more information on spine deformity treatment or to schedule an appointment, contact our spine team today at 216-286-8888.