Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

General Spine News

Treatment for Flatback Syndrome

The normal spine has three natural curves when viewed from the side. The cervical (neck or upper spine) is in a curved position called lordosis. Lordosis means it's an inward curve.

The thoracic spine (middle back) curves outward. The outward curve of the thoracic spine is called kyphosis. The lumbar spine (low back) is also in a position of lordosis.

In this study, surgeons from Korea measure the effect on the spine of surgical correction for flat back syndrome. Flat back syndrome is also called lumbar degenerative kyphosis. It is the loss of the natural lordosis of the low back.

This condition is common among middle-aged women in Asian countries. It is most likely the result of sleeping, working, and eating in a flexed or crouched position.

The authors present the case example of one patient who was treated with surgery for the flat back syndrome. There were a total of 28 patients in the study who had spinal fusion to restore lumbar lordosis.

X-rays were used before and after surgery for all patients to measure the results of surgical treatment. Various spinal curves, slopes, and angles were used as measures of the results. Pain and function were also evaluated.

The authors report a significant difference in spinal curves after the corrective procedure. Restoring lumbar lordosis brought about a spontaneous correction of the thoracic curve.

It appears that the lower lumbar curve (L4 - S1) has an important role in the alignment and balance of the entire spine. Patients with flat back syndrome can benefit from surgery to correct this problem.


Jee-Soo Jang, MD, PhD, et al. Changes in sagittal alignment after restoration of lower lumbar lordosis in patients with degenerative flat back syndrome. In Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. October 2007. Vol. 7. No. 4. Pp. 387-392.

10/18/2007

*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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