Thoracic scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine within the mid-back or thoracic region, where the spine is attached to the rib cage. Scoliosis is most commonly diagnosed in this region. The condition may be classified as congenital, neuromuscular or degenerative, depending on the underlying cause of the curvature and the age of the patient.
Causes of thoracic scoliosis
By far the most common form of scoliosis – regardless of where it is located within the spine – is idiopathic scoliosis. About 65 percent of all cases of scoliosis fall under this category. Idiopathic scoliosis has no known cause, although recent studies have begun to point to underlying genetic properties giving rise to the development of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.
The second-most common form of thoracic scoliosis is congenital scoliosis. About 15 percent of all scoliosis cases are of this type, which develops during the third and sixth weeks in utero. It is generally detectable at birth, and it can be attributed to either a failure of formation, or a failure of segmentation within the vertebrae.
About 10 percent of scoliosis is considered neuromuscular in nature, a secondary result of a condition such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida. This is also related to syndromic scoliosis, which is related to conditions such as Marfan syndrome, dwarfism and many other syndromes.
Treatment for thoracic scoliosis
Minor curvature (10 percent or less) that does not appear to worsen should be monitored, but does not typically require a major course of treatment. More severe curvature is treated with a combination of traction, physical therapy, surgery and other methods.
To learn more about different types of scoliosis, or for information about innovative treatments available for adults with scoliosis in the lumbar (lower) spine, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our orthopedic surgeons can address some forms of adult scoliosis by using advanced techniques to perform minimally invasive procedures on an outpatient basis.