Department of  Neurosurgery
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Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

Washington University spinal neurosurgeons provide comprehensive treatment for all spinal deformities, including idiopathic scoliotic curvatures affecting the adolescent spine. One of our neurosurgeons has completed a fellowship focused on complex spinal deformity. Additionally, for the most complex cases, we use a multidisciplinary approach, benefiting from the expertise of several experienced spinal surgeons in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery.This blend of neurosurgical and orthopedic spinal expertise allows for a comprehensive, “best of both worlds” approach to the surgical care of spinal lesions.

Conditions & Treatments

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a disorder of abnormal spinal curvature that coincides with the rapid phase of growth of the spine, typically during the years just before and after puberty. As the “idiopathic” part of the name implies, we do not have a definitive understanding of what causes AIS. The effects of this disorder, however, are clear:

  • trunk or shoulder asymmetry
  • postural abnormalities
  • disfigurement and deformity
  • pain
  • impairment of respiratory function (in severe cases)

If diagnosed early, AIS may respond to bracing and other conservative measures. Once the condition has progressed, surgical correction may be required to restore proper alignment to the spine.

Washington University spinal neurosurgeons use the most advanced techniques to tailor an appropriate treatment to each patient. We employ a comprehensive approach to the health of the whole patient, ensuring that each individual receives the care he or she needs and is most able to benefit from the treatment plan that we offer.