Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine which is measured in degrees. The question is if the curve will get worse through the years.
In years past there were no clear answers to that question.
Orthopedic Surgeon Chad Mitchell says, "Traditional treatments have been bracing for scoliosis curves that are under say - 40 to 45 degrees. Surgery is then indicated for those that are 45 to 50 degrees or higher."
The fear of not knowing if your scoliosis will get worse can be agonizing. But a breakthrough DNA test can help doctors determine who is at a higher risk. It's called scoliscore.
Dr. Mitchell says, "It helps us determine which patients may need bracing and which ones won't need bracing. In other words, the ones that won't need bracing, they have a type of curve that is not likely to progress and need surgery."
Patients spit in a cup and lab analysis looks for 53 genetic markers, then gives the patient a predictive score from one to 200. A low score means a smaller chance scoliosis will progress; a higher score means there's a very high chance the curve will get worse.
Dr. Mitchell says, "The advantage of scoliscore is that if we get a test and the child is not at risk, then we don't have to brace them at all. Their treatment would be observation. The other patients that fall in the category of being at risk would be braced and if the curve progresses during growth in the brace then they may need surgery."
There usually isn't any pain associated with scoliosis but if your child has a hip or rib cage that sticks out more than the other side or you notice a curve in the spine, that child needs to be checked.
If you'd like to check out which southern orthopedic offices in our area are also offer scoliscore, log onto www.scoliscore.com.