What health problems might I have later in life as a result of scoliosis?
Problems with scoliosis later in life are related to the size and location of the curve in the spine. In general, people with curves less than 30 degrees have the same risks for back pain as people without scoliosis. People with larger, untreated curves (over 50 to 60 degrees) are more likely to develop back pain, particularly in the lower back.
Will I have a hump on my back when I get older?
This depends on how severe the curve is and whether it is corrected.
One of my hips looks higher than the other. Can anything correct this?
If your leg length discrepancy is greater than 2 cm, your doctor may recommend a shoe lift to adjust your uneven posture.
Will having scoliosis affect my ability to bear and deliver a child?
No, it should not. There have been many studies on scoliosis and pregnancy, and none have shown difficulties in childbearing in patients with scoliosis. There are no increases in fetal distress, premature deliveries, or problems with delivery. Interestingly, one study shows that the need for cesarean section was half of the national average in the women with scoliosis.
In addition, pregnancy does not typically cause a significant increase in the degree of scoliosis in an unfused spine.
Can I have an epidural in the future?
Yes, you can get an epidural as an anesthetic for delivery. Very severe curves may be technically difficult, but epidurals might still be possible.
If you have had a spinal fusion, be sure your obstetrician and anesthesiologist know what levels of fusion have been performed.
Does having scoliosis make me more prone to osteoporosis?
There is some controversy about whether scoliosis might contribute to bone loss (osteoporosis), but there is no hard evidence to prove the relationship. Keeping your bones healthy by not smoking, getting adequate calcium and Vitamin D, and plenty of weight-bearing exercise, is good advice for those who have scoliosis and those who do not.
Will having scoliosis influence what I do later in life, such as what jobs I can do?
No, it should not.
Will the metal detectors go off in airport security after I have rods placed in my spine?
This depends on how sensitive the detector is, but it typically does not happen. A letter from your doctor explaining your implants may be helpful to have on hand. You may also need to show the healed incision on your back in the rare event that the detector goes off.
If I have a spinal fusion, will I need antibiotics before dental work?
This question is controversial. It refers to the possibility of infection in spine implants after dental work. However, there are efforts underway to develop formal guidelines regarding the use of prophylactic antibiotics before dental work in patients who have previously had spine implants inserted in their backs.
Please talk with your spine surgeon about this before having dental work.
Reviewed by members of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America and the Scoliosis Research Society
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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Rosemont, IL 60018