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What is Congenital Scoliosis?

Congenital scoliosis is a lateral deviation of the spine due to congenital malformations of the vertebrae and adjacent supporting elements.

Congenital malformations or deformities, by definition, are those due to a developmental defect, and are present at birth or can be recognized late, they vary from severe malformations, which are incompatible with life, found in a dead fetus. Even with minor anomalies without practical importance, they need to be diagnosed early by the doctor for their best treatment.

Diagnosis of congenital scoliosis

To diagnose a congenital scoliosis there must be a visible abnormality on the x-rays of the spine. It is characterized in 75% of cases, by a slow and inexorable progression and a tendency of rapid and sudden increase, in particular during the period of the outbreak of growth before adolescence. 25% of cases of congenital scoliosis do not progress, but in some cases the deformity is important and requires treatment. Once congenital scoliosis is diagnosed, its treatment corresponds to the orthopaedic surgeon.

Classification of congenital scoliosis

The classification of anomalies in congenital scoliosis is as follows:

Neuromuscular scoliosis:

It is due to primary neurological or muscular alterations, which cause loss of trunk control due to weakness or paralysis.

Congenital scoliosis:

Caused by vertebral birth malformations.

Idiopathic scoliosis:

They constitute more than 80% of all scoliosis and their cause is unknown. According to the age at which doctors diagnose scoliosis, there are three types:

Child idiopathic scoliosis: From birth to 3 years old.

Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis: Between 4 and 9 years old.

Idiopathic adolescent scoliosis: Between 10 years and skeletal maturity. 

Signs and symptoms

Some of the severe cases of scoliosis can lead to decreased lung capacity by exerting pressure on the heart, thereby restricting the physical activities of the patient. Signs of scoliosis may include:

-Uneven musculature of one side of the spine.
-Prominences in the ribs or scapula, caused by the rotation of the rib cage in the thoracic scoliosis.
-Hips or legs of unequal size.
-Slow reflexes (in some cases).

Treatment

The usual treatment will depend on multiple factors such as the patient’s age, presence of pain, skeletal maturity and degrees of the curve. Analyzing these situations, it will be possible to observe scoliosis behavior over time and, depending on that, determine kinesitherapy sessions or the use of a corset.
Surgery is indicated only in certain very specific cases.
Scoliosis surgery, seeks to straighten the spine and reduce the curvature that patient has. For this, multiple screws are installed in the column, which are joined together by bars.
The development of new techniques allows reducing the risk of neurological damage, since during surgery the specialists are monitoring at all times.

 

You might also want to read:

What is neuromuscular scoliosis?

Pott’s Spine: Retrospective Analysis of MRI Scans of 70 Cases.

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Can regional anaesthesia for lymph-node dissection improve the prognosis in malignant melanoma?

 

At the London Spine Unit, we have some of the best doctors to diagnose and treat congenital scoliosis. Book an appointment to get a checkup.

 

FAQs:

 

What are congenital malformations?

Congenital malformations or deformities, by definition, are those due to a developmental defect, and are present at birth or can be recognized late, they vary from severe malformations, which are incompatible with life, found in a dead fetus.

How to diagnose congenital scoliosis?

To diagnose a congenital scoliosis there must be a visible abnormality on the x-rays of the spine. It is characterized in 75% of cases, by a slow and inexorable progression and a tendency of rapid and sudden increase, in particular during the period of the outbreak of growth before adolescence.

What are the symptoms of congenital scoliosis?

Some of the severe cases of scoliosis can lead to decreased lung capacity by exerting pressure on the heart, thereby restricting the physical activities of the patient. Signs of scoliosis may include: Uneven musculature of one side of the spine, prominences in the ribs or scapula, caused by the rotation of the rib cage in the thoracic scoliosis, hips or legs of unequal size and slow reflexes (in some cases).

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