What is kyphosis surgery and is it an option for you? First of all, kyphosis is the term to describe a type of abnormal curvature in the spine. The thoracic spine naturally has some kyphosis or “C”-shaped curve, but a kyphotic spinal deformity means there is too much forward curvature in the spine. A kyphotic curve is normally present in the thoracic spine (the part of the spine in the chest area). Adult kyphosis can have varying symptoms and degrees of severity, from minor changes in the shape of your back to severe deformity, nerve problems, and chronic pain. Kyphosis is most common in the thoracic spine, though it can also affect the cervical and lumbar spine.
There have been different ways of treating kyphosis that have evolved over time and, thankfully, there are quite a few effective treatment methods and options for correcting a severe kyphotic deformity in a person.
What actually causes kyphosis in the spine that is bad enough to require kyphosis surgery? There are a number of causes in adults, which include:
- The abnormal curve in a the spine can possibly be a congenital cause. This means that this condition is present from birth and the congenital spine issues can have negative effects in the development of the spine as a person matures.
- This spinal deformity can also be traumatic. This means that it is caused by a trauma or injury to the spine.
- There are also iatrogenic factors which means that the effects of medical treatment or surgery have had a negative impact on the spine.
- Osteoporosis is the most common cause of kyphosis in adults hat leads to major losses of bone mass, leaving the bones brittle and prone to fractures.
Symptoms that could alert someone to the potential option of kyphosis surgery can range from poor posture to severe and uncomfortable pain problems of pressure in the lung and abdomen areas of the body. The pain occurs primarily in the area of the kyphosis. A severe curve can also begin to put pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots, which may cause weakness in the lower extremities. Eventually there can be pressure on the lungs and abdomen which could potential affect breathing and appetite.
Kyphosis surgery for adult kyphosis sufferers does come with some risks. It is for this reason that surgery is only recommended for people when the risks are far outweighed by the expected benefits. Surgery will not be recommended for most cases of kyphosis. Surgery may be recommended in the following situations:
- Pain – The most common reason for kyphosis surgery is pain relief for increasing, chronic discomfort. Most cases of adult kyphosis surgeries are done to relieve severe pain.
- Progression of Curve – Progression of the kyphosis deformity is another reason for considering kyphosis surgery. If the curvature continues to worsen, surgery may be suggested.
- Cosmetics – In most cases of kyphosis, kyphosis surgery will not be recommended simply for the sake of appearances. However, in some cases, the kyphosis causes physical deformity that is unbearable to the patient. In these cases, surgery is the only option for correcting the condition.