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Potential Complications of Scoliosis

Patients are diagnosed with scoliosis when their spine doctors identify an abnormal side-to-side curvature. Normally, scoliosis doesn’t result in back pain or any other symptoms. However, some cases are severe enough to cause complications. For patients with severe spine problems, surgeons may recommend a spinal fusion to prevent complications.

Nerve Compression

When the vertebrae in the spine from abnormal curvatures, it is possible that the spine can exert pressure on nearby nerves. This nerve compression can result in complications. Typically, numbness and tingling indicate a problem with the nerves. This can manifest as numbness and tingling that extends down the legs. Patients might also suffer from back pain. In very severe cases, nerve compression in the back can result in the loss of bowel or bladder control. Men may sometimes develop erectile dysfunction from nerve compression.

Cardiac and Thoracic Problems

When the spine shifts out of its proper position, it can create problems for other structures of the body. For example, the abnormal curvatures can push the ribcage against the patient’s lungs, which can cause problems breathing normally. If the ribcage presses against the heart, the heart may have trouble pumping enough blood. Heart failure and lung problems such as infections like pneumonia are some of the serious complications of scoliosis.

Psychological Complications

When scoliosis is mild, it might not affect a person much in his or her daily life. In severe cases; however, scoliosis may cause palpable discrepancies in a person’s anatomy. The patient may notice that one shoulder and hip are higher than the joints on the opposing side. Clothes may hang asymmetrically. If the patient needs to wear a back brace, he or she might have to give up certain activities. For young people, in particular, scoliosis can lead to emotional problems like poor self-esteem and increased self-consciousness. If you or your child is experiencing psychological complications of scoliosis, a patient support group may help.

The surgical team at Spine Institute of Nevada has extensive experience treating patients with scoliosis. If you have scoliosis and live near Las Vegas, you can contact our office at 702-239-3787 to speak with a friendly representative. We offer both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options.