By Dr Tony Setiobudi BMedSci, MBBS, MRCS, MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho)

Scoliosis Spine surgery - Illustration of normal and scoliosis spine.

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. This condition usually affect girls in the early teens. The cause is usually unknown. This condition is called Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis.

In Singapore, the school does screening to detect early scoliosis. It is important to treat this condition early with non-invasive method such as brace to halt the progression of the scoliosis. The curves grow as the child grows taller. Bigger curve can cause problem such as body asymmetry. One shoulder may be higher than the other. The hip or waist on one side may be more prominent than the other. This can create low self-esteem in the child. However, it is often more appearance issue than medical issue.

However, when the curve is around 50 degrees in growing child, operative treatment is recommended. This curve is likely to get worse even in the adulthood. The operation is to reduce the magnitude of the curve and to hold it there with rods and screws. The operation is performed with the use of neuromonitoring to monitor the nerve through out the operation.

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Dr Tony Setiobudi is an Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard), Singapore. He treats bone, joint, muscle and ligament problems in adults and children. He has a special interest in nerve compression and spine problems such as back & neck pain, scoliosis, kyphosis, spine tumor & infection, spinal cord injury, osteoporosis fracture, spinal stenosis and slipped disc.