Spinal Deformity Program
Spinal deformity refers to a group of conditions that cause the alignment of the spine to differ from the straight line down the back or the gentle S-shared curve seen from the side. Spinal deformity can affect patients of all ages. A deformity can be present at birth, develop as a person grows, or progress through adulthood. The conditions can result from a congenital disability, degeneration, aging, trauma, infection, or prior spine surgery. A spinal deformity may be mild for many patients and not cause symptoms. Other patients may experience pain, weakness, numbness, or balance problems. Simple tasks such as walking or standing up straight may become difficult.
To evaluate a spinal deformity, an expert will gather a history of the condition and how it affects a person's lifestyle. The specialist will perform a physical exam and obtain X-rays of the spine. We often will recommend additional imaging such as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computerized tomography) to assess the structure of the spine, spinal cord, and nerves.
Treatment is focused on relieving symptoms such as pain. Usually, this involves trying nonsurgical options first. We often recommend physical therapy to help improve posture and balance and strengthen the neck and back muscles to lighten the strain on the spine. Pain symptoms can also be controlled sometimes with medications and injections. Surgery may be an option if pain or other symptoms are not relieved by the available nonsurgical treatment options.
Spinal Deformity Surgery
Surgery may be an option if pain or other symptoms have not improved with medical or conservative treatments. Surgery to correct a spinal deformity often involves realigning the spine to a normal position and curvature. The surgery may also relieve pressure from the spinal cord or nerve roots. Our spinal surgeons use a variety of implants such as rods and screws to hold the spine in the new alignment.
The UConn Health Difference
Our team of experts treat and see patients as a team under one roof at the Comprehensive Spine Center. Our approach differs from the approach of a physician who is only focused on their own practice. Our team discusses complex cases in regular conferences to ensure we offer the best treatment plan for each patient. Our specialists have a track record of successfully treating patients with complex spinal deformities who have been told surgery is not an option or have had a surgery that was not successful. Our surgeons will also often work together in the operating room to help make the surgery safer and faster. Surgeries take place in new state-of-art operating rooms equipped with the latest technology to make the surgery safer, faster, and more precise.