Scheuermann’s disease, also called ‘Scheuermann’s kyphosis’, is a skeletal disorder involving abnormal growth of the spine. Greater growth along the upper back section of the spine causes vertebra to wedge together and form a ‘hunched’ back, or kyphosis. The normal spine already curves in the chest region and the lower back region. However, with Scheuermann’s disease, there is irregular growth, resulting in an increased in the kyphosis curvature, usually in the rib region.
Deformity from Scheuermann’s Disease
Scheuermann’s disease is associated with progressive deformity and stiffness as well as back pain. While the pain often lessens over time, the deformity does not improve. The deformity is often very apparent clinically and can lead to increased kyphosis (hunched back) of the thoracic spine. To ensure that the head stays upright (rather than falling forward), the spine also develops a lordosis (arching) of both the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back).
Scheuermann’s Kyphosis Treatment
Treatment, whether it be physical therapy to focus on core strengthening, spine bracing, or surgery, is performed on an individual basis. Treatment goals are often focused on decreasing the possible pain that the child or young adult is experiencing from this condition.
Bracing has had mixed success with Scheuermann’s kyphosis. In most cases, bracing does not improve deformity. The bracing plan must be initiated early in the disease process and requires diligent compliance until the end of growth to be effective in limiting progression. Since most patients do not seek medical assistance until significant deformity is present bracing is usually not an effective treatment option.
Surgical correction is an effective way to address the deformity associated with Scheuermann’s and prevent curve progression. Implants (screws) are inserted and connected with a rigid rod to obtain and maintain alignment. Bone grafts are also used to obtain a solid fusion where the rod is placed.
The image to the right is a patient before and immediately after surgical correction of the Scheuermann’s Kyphosis deformity.
If your child has Scheuermann’s Kyphosis or if you are concerned that he/she may have it, contact our team today. We know that surgical correction sounds intimidating, especially when there’s a child involved. That’s why you can trust the orthopedic surgeons at Children’s Ortho. Our surgeons specialize in the treatment of kids all the way up to older adolescents. Get the specialized treatment your child deserves.