Diagnosis and Treatment of Scoliosis in Central GA

What is Scoliosis?

Although many people think of adults when thinking about back and spine problems, it is important to be aware of spine conditions that can arise during childhood. Scoliosis, or sideways curvature of the spine, is most commonly diagnosed in adolescents. In the normal spine, vertebrae are stacked in a straight formation, while a spine affected by scoliosis may have the shape of an “S” or “C.” The severity of the spine’s curve can vary significantly, but many patients find that they lean to one side when they stand. Each case of scoliosis is unique, and early treatment is key to ensuring that the spinal deformity does not worsen as a child gets older. At OrthoGeorgia, our orthopaedic spine specialists work with patients of all ages to diagnose and treat injuries and conditions of the spine, including scoliosis, in Central Georgia.

What are the Symptoms of Scoliosis?

Scoliosis can affect the right or left side of the spine. The condition can also affect either the mid or lower spine, making symptoms unique to each patient and the severity of their curvature. Fortunately, most cases of scoliosis are mild, but in some cases, the curve worsens as the patient gets older. Visible symptoms of scoliosis include uneven shoulders, an uneven waist, one shoulder blade appearing more prominent than the other, and prominence on one side of the back when bending forward. If scoliosis is not properly addressed, additional symptoms can develop, including low back pain, stiffness, and fatigue due to muscle strain. Scoliosis appears gradually, so we encourage parents to bring their child in for a visit to OrthoGeorgia if they notice any signs of spinal deformity.

How is Scoliosis Diagnosed?

As signs of scoliosis are often visible, your child’s doctor will most likely start with a physical exam. Pediatricians often perform routine spine checks on their patients, asking the child to bend over from the waist so they can determine if the spine looks curved. If scoliosis is suspected based on physical signs, an X-Ray can confirm the diagnosis. The results of the x-ray can also provide insights regarding the severity of the curvature – and with future x-rays, whether it has worsened or improved over time. In some cases, additional imaging tests like a CT scan or MRI may be performed to rule out other spinal conditions. Scoliosis is officially diagnosed based on the curve (in degrees) of the spine. Measurement standards consist of:

  • Greater than 10 degrees – scoliosis confirmed
  • Greater than 25 to 30 degrees – curve is considered to be significant
  • Greater than 45 to 50 degrees – scoliosis is considered to be severe

Treatment for Scoliosis in Central GA

Non-Surgical Scoliosis Treatment

Treatment for scoliosis depends on each unique case and the degree of curvature that is affecting the patient. Often, treatment is not needed for cases of mild scoliosis, and regular checkups are sufficient to monitor the spine and the progression of the curve. One of the most important questions your child’s doctor will consider as part of their treatment plan is whether or not their spine is still growing and changing. If the child’s bones have stopped growing, the risk of curve progression is much lower. 

If the patient’s bones are still growing, a spine specialist may recommend bracing the spine to prevent further progression of the curve. Braces have been found to be very successful in treating childhood scoliosis. Braces have come a long way over the years – today, they can be worn under clothes and will not stop your child from enjoying their everyday activities.

Will My Child Need Surgery for Scoliosis?

Many cases of scoliosis can be successfully managed with bracing and regular checkups to ensure that the curvature is not worsening. Surgery may be recommended for those with severe scoliosis (a curve greater than 45-50 degrees). The main goals of surgery for scoliosis are to stop the curve from progressing and to address spinal deformity. If taken at the right time, these steps can help a child grow into adulthood with a healthier spine. In adults with scoliosis, surgery is also an option when the curve is severe and the nerves are being compressed. 

If surgery is the best next step for you or your child, your spine specialist at OrthoGeorgia will discuss your options with you and answer any questions you may have. If your child is under 10 years old, their doctor may recommend a procedure to insert adjustable rods along the spine that can help to straighten the spine over time. For teenagers and young adults, the most common surgical option for scoliosis is spinal fusion. During a spinal fusion procedure, two or more of the vertebrae are connected, allowing them to be held in place until they grow together. This procedure is designed to lessen the spine’s curve and prevent it from progressing.

Other Spine and Back Conditions We Treat at OrthoGeorgia

At OrthoGeorgia, our orthopaedic spine specialists work with patients of all ages to help them live and move more comfortably. Whether you have been dealing with a spine condition for years or have recently injured your back playing your favorite sport, we are here to help determine the cause of your pain and help you find relief. Our specialists utilize a comprehensive approach every step of the way, with a focus on patient education and the use of state-of-the-art equipment to achieve positive results. Spine conditions and injuries we treat at OrthoGeorgia include:

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OrthoGeorgia has me back in the driver seat.

“Dr.Schnetzer he did surgery on me, very good doctor. That's the doctor you want to work on you, somebody that go in and see a problem, and fix it. It's the same thing I do in my passion with cars."

Nick C. Buckhalter

Orthopaedic Spine Specialists at OrthoGeorgia

Dr. William Brooks headshot
William W. Brooks, MD
Dr. William Dasher headshot
William B. Dasher III, MD
Dr. Wayne Kelley headshot
Wayne Kelley Jr., MD
Dr. Ryan Schnetzer headshot
Ryan E. Schnetzer, MD

Spine Care Locations

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Spine Center

3708 Northside Drive, Building B, Macon, GA 31210

Call (478) 745-4206

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Warner Robins Urgent Care

301 Margie Drive, Warner Robins, GA 31088

Call (478) 971-1153

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Kathleen Orthopaedic Center

2510 GA-127, Kathleen, GA 31047

Call (478) 971-1153

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OrthoGeorgia Milledgeville office

2803 North Columbia Street, Suite D, Milledgeville, GA 31061

Call (478) 414-5820

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Dublin Orthopaedic

109 Fairview Park Drive, Suite B, Dublin, GA 31021

Call (478) 745-4206

Awards and Affiliations

Viewers Choice 2024
The Telegraph Best of 2021
Greater Macon Business of Year
Go Beyond Proffit Member
Top 100
AAAHC Accreditation
ACR Radiology Computed
ACR Radiology Magnetic
ACR Radiology Magnetic
TheOrthoForum Member
Greater Macon Business of Year