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Bone, Joint and Muscle Conditions

Kyphosis

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We use both surgical and non-surgical treatment to treat kyphosis.

Kyphosis Treatment Options

In mild cases of Scheuermann kyphosis, exercises to strengthen the back can relieve the pain and tiredness that sometimes comes when children are active. Studies have not shown that exercises affect the growth or development of the spine, though.

If your child is still growing and has a mild case of Scheuermann kyphosis, wearing a back brace may stop the curve from getting worse. Our experienced team makes braces for children of all sizes and ages. Read about braces and our other orthotics and prosthetics services.

Surgery for Kyphosis

If your child has more severe kyphosis — a curve of 75 degrees or greater — we offer surgical treatment to correct the curve and stabilize the spine.

In this operation, the doctor anchors screws or hooks to the bones in your child’s spine (vertebrae). The doctor attaches the screws or hooks to a metal rod and straightens the back.

Next, the doctor fuses the spine by removing the joints between the bones. Finally, the doctor places a bone graft next to the spine to help the bones grow together.

In severe cases, we use thorascopic techniques to release ligaments at the front of the spine. This makes your child’s spine more flexible.

In this operation, the doctor uses special equipment to view the procedure on a monitor. The doctor works with tiny instruments that are inserted into your child’s chest through small cuts (incisions). This allows the doctor to correct the spine deformity while at the same time using smaller incisions.

To treat congenital kyphosis, doctors often remove the problem vertebrae. This relieves the pressure on the spinal cord that can cause paralysis. Next, the doctor corrects the problem using metal rods and screws or hooks, as described above.

In these cases, our multi-disciplinary team includes doctors from neurosurgery to ensure the best possible results.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

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