Scolosis surgery has patients standing up straight again

December 5, 2011 8:54:26 AM PST
Scoliosis a minor problem for most people, but for some children, it's severe and requires treatment.

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty.

While scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, the cause of most scoliosis is unknown. Most cases of scoliosis are mild, but severe scoliosis can be disabling. An especially severe spinal curve can reduce the amount of space within the chest, making it difficult for the lungs to function properly. (

TREATMENT: While there are guidelines for mild, moderate and severe curves, the decision to begin treatment is always made on an individual basis. Factors to be considered include: sex, severity of curve, curve pattern, location of curve and bone maturity.

Some treatments include: braces, surgery, and physical therapy.

Spinal fusion surgery connects two or more of the bones in your spine (vertebrae) together with new bone. Surgeons may use metal rods, hooks, screws or wires to hold that part of the spine straight and still while the bone heals. The process is similar to what occurs when a broken bone heals. (

Dr. Acosta: Frank L. Acosta, Jr., MD is the Director of Spine Deformity in the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai. His clinical practice focuses on conditions affecting the spine.

Dr. Acosta's research, which concentrates on the diagnosis and treatment of spine disorders, has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School and Howard Hughes Medical Institute grants and fellowships. He has published more than 40 papers in peer-reviewed journals and other publications, including Spine, Neurosurgery, Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, Neurosurgical Focus, Neurosurgery Clinics of North America, Surgical Neurology, Cancer Gene Therapy, Chest and Journal of the American Geriatric Society. He is a member of AOSpine North America, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.Dr. Acosta earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry magna cum laude from Harvard College and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He completed an internship and neurosurgical residency at the University of California, San Francisco, and a fellowship in complex and reconstructive spine surgery at Northwestern University.


Sandy Van
Media Relations
Cedars- Sinai Medical Center

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