Kyphosis

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Kyphosis (also known as Scheuermann’s disease; Roundback; Hunchback; Postural kyphosis; Sherman’s Disease) is a curving of the spine that causes a bowing or rounding of the back, which leads to a hunchback or slouching posture.

Symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing (advanced diseases)
  • Fatigue
  • Mild back pain
  • Round back appearance
  • Tenderness and stiffness in the spine

 

Imaging Studies:

  • Spine x-ray
  • Pulmonary function tests (if kyphosis affects breathing)
  • MRI (if there may be a tumor, infection, or neurological symptoms)

 

Treatment:

  • Congenital kyphosis requires corrective surgery at an early age.
  • Scheuermann’s disease is treated with a brace and physical therapy. Occasionally surgery is needed for large (greater than 60 degrees), painful curves.
  • Multiple compression fractures from osteoporosis can be left alone if there are no nervous system problems or pain.
  • Kyphosis caused by infection or tumor needs to be treated more aggressively, often with surgery and medications.

Complications:

  • Decreased lung capacity
  • Back pain
  • Neurological symptoms
  • Round back deformity