Thoracic scoliosis refers to an abnormal sideways curve located in the middle (or thoracic) portion of the spine. This is the most common location for scoliosis curves, and the first sign many patients notice is an asymmetry of the chest, rib cage, and shoulder blades. Jun 04, · Figures Pre-op images of an adult with thoracic scoliosis Figures The same patient after posterior fusion and instrumentation Depending on the nature of the curve and its location, the orthopedist may need to perform a fusion from both the front and the back of the body, a procedure that may be done as a single operation or in stages.
Back pain is the primary symptom of adult scoliosis, especially in lumbar scoliosis. However, if the scoliotic curvature involves the thoracic spine, and is severe, the patient may experience breathing difficulties, and the function of the lungs and/or heart may be compromised. Adult scoliosis may be a case of pediatric scoliosis that was undiscovered until adulthood. In some cases, adolescent scoliosis may develop symptoms with aging and require treatment. Idiopathic (coming from an unknown cause) scoliosis is usually discovered during growth in childhood or adolescence.