Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Upper Spine FAQ

Question:

I'm 25-years old and I've had Scheuermann's disease for the last 10 years. It looks like it has stopped getting worse. The doctor is advising me to have surgery to fuse the spine. What would happen if I don't do this?

Answer:

As you know, Scheuermann's disease is a forward curvature or kyphosis of the upper back area. Males and females are affected equally. Less than 10 per cent of the population is affected by this condition. The exact cause is unknown.

Studies show a higher rate of disabling back pain in adults with untreated Scheuermann's disease. Untreated patients with this condition are more likely to be limited in their job choices. They tend to have sedentary jobs or occupations. They are also more likely to remain single and never marry.

Surgery is advised when the curve is more than 75 degrees as measured on X-rays. Pain, neurologic problems, and cardiopulmonary impairment are other reasons to consider surgery. Bone graft is used along with rods and screws to fuse the spine usually from T2 to L2. Bracing is required after surgery but the result is often a near normal spinal curve and appearance. R. Arun, MRCS (Ed), et al. Do Anterior Interbody Cages Have a Potential Value in Comparison to Autogenous Rib Graft in the Surgical Management of Scheuermann's Kyphosis? In The Spine Journal. July/August 2006. Vol. 6. No. 4. Pp. 413-420.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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