Abnormal Curvature of the Spine 

Scoliosis A normal spine, when viewed from behind, appears straight. However, a spine affected by scoliosis shows a side-to-side curvature, with the spine looking like an "S" or "C." Scoliosis occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. In most cases, the cause is unknown. In other cases, scoliosis may develop as a result of breakdown of the spinal discs, as seen with arthritis, osteoporosis, or as a hereditary condition that runs in families.

Signs of scoliosis may include:

  • One shoulder higher than the other
  • One shoulder blade sticking out farther than the other
  • An uneven waistline
  • Hems hanging unevenly on you

While most cases are mild with few symptoms, severe scoliosis can be painful and disabling and may require surgery. A new surgical approach, now available to patients in southwest Michigan, helps stabilize a patient’s spine and reduce or remove pain by joining two or more vertebral bones to prevent movement – also known as spinal fusion.

During the procedure, which typically involves two surgeries over the course of a week, bone grafts are inserted between vertebrae to encourage new bone growth and fuse the spinal bones together. Screws, rods, and connectors are also implanted along the spine forming an "internal cast" to support the vertebrae and redirect stress during the healing and fusing process.

Woods“The techniques we are using for spinal deformity [scoliosis] surgery are less invasive and allow for faster recovery. Unlike traditional techniques which relied on removing parts of the bony spinal column to correct the deformity, in the majority of cases we are now able to restore normal anatomy by re-establishing normal disc spaces.” - Neurosurgeon, Rafeek Woods, MD