Our neurology team provide a range of treatments for people with abnormal curvature of the spine, called scoliosis, with our neurosurgeons carrying out surgery in the most severe cases.

Scoliosis can be caused by damage to the spine or as a result of another medical condition, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. However, in around eight out of 10 cases, its cause isn’t clear. It can cause several physical signs, including a visibly curved spine, one shoulder of hip being more prominent than the other or a tendency to lean to one side.

The majority of people do not need treatment for their scoliosis, although some children may have to wear a back brace until they stop growing. In adults, the condition can cause discomfort, and is usually treated with painkillers. Due to the risks associated with operating on the spine, we only recommend surgery in very severe cases.

If you are referred to our neurosurgery team, we will carry out a full assessment and any necessary x-rays or scans before discussing the most effective procduefor you. This could include:

  • decompression – where a disc pressing on a nerve is removed to reduce pressure on the nerve, and its associated pain
  • spinal fusion surgery – where the position of the spine is corrected using metal rods, plates or screws and then fused into place using bone grafts

As with all surgery, there can be complications. The surgery may not significantly reduce the patient’s level of pain, for example, or sections of the spine may fail to fuse together properly. Our team of consultant neurosurgeons and specialist nurses will discuss all of the possible side effects with you in full before working with you to decide which option is most suited to your individual needs.

Following your surgery, you will be asked to come to our outpatient clinic where we will review your condition and discuss any follow up care which you may need during your recovery.

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