Kyphosis is a condition in which your upper spine develops an exaggerated forward curve. It is often a result of poor posture, genetics, or injury. It can give you a slouched or hunched-over look and is sometimes called “roundback,” or even "hunchback" in more serious cases.

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What is Kyphosis?

Kyphosis refers to a kyphotic deformity which may follow after a spine fracture, infection, tumour, etc. This can sometimes result in a “hunch-back” deformity which may cause chronic back pain and difficulty lying flat on a bed

A kyphotic deformity may follow after a spine fracture, infection, tumour, etc. This results in a “hunch-back” deformity which may result in chronic back pain and difficulty lying flat on a bed. Neck pain may also ensue due to the need to maintain a horizontal gaze.

The upper back naturally has a slight curve. Kyphosis occurs when the vertebrae become misshapen causing a pronounced, unnatural curve.

People with mild kyphosis may not notice any symptoms while patients with moderate to severe kyphosis may experience back pain and visible rounding of the upper back. Serious cases of kyphosis can even lead to excess pressure on the lungs resulting in breathing diffculty.

Surgical correction can be done to improve the quality of life and appearance. If performed early, the kyphotic deformity may even be fully corrected.

Common Types of Kyphosis

Postural kyphosis

is the most common type of kyphosis. It commonly develops during adolescence due to poor posture at a time when the body is experiencing rapid growth.

Postural kyphosis is seldom painful and one way of correcting is to make sure that the patient stands upright.

Scheuermann’s disease

appears most commonly among males. Scheuermann’s kyphosis is caused by a structural abnormality in the spine, usually three or more irregularly-shaped vertebrae. It appears most often in teenagers.

Congenital kyphosis

occurs when an infant’s spine develops abnormally in the womb.

Patients with congenital kyphosis may often require some form of corrective surgery early in life to prevent complications when they grow up.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms?

The signs and symptoms of kyphosis can differ depending on the cause and severity of the spinal curve. Symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • rounded shoulders
  • difference in shoulder height
  • a visible hump on the back
  • pain or stiffness in the back and shoulders
What are my treatment options?

For moderate case of kyphosis experiencing painful symptoms or limited mobility, your doctor may recommend treatments such as:

  • pain medication
  • physical therapy to build strength in the core and back muscles
  • wearing a back brace

In more severe cases of kyphosis, e.g. congenital kyphosis, where your internal organs may also be impacted. Complications such as difficulty with breathing and incontinence may arise. In these cases, your doctor may recommend corrective surgery such as spinal fusion.

How is it diagnosed?

To test for kyphosis, your doctor may confirm the diagnosis by asking you to bend forward and check for visible spine curvature.

An X-ray can also help your doctor see the spinal bones more clearly and ascertain the degree of the curve. Additionally, an MRI can better show if any growths are exerting pressure on the nerves of your spine.

Targeted Procedure

Spinal Fusion

Why choose spinal fusion?
Spinal fusion is a type of spine surgery performed to promote stability at a diseased motion segment. This usually involves removal of the lamina (portion of the vertebrae that covers the spinal cord). Removing the lamina relieves pain and pressure. Subsequently, screws and rods are inserted. Bone grafts are added to the sides of the spine. The grafted bone will then fuse to the spine.

Is it suitable for me?
You may be a candidate for spinal fusion if you have signs and symptoms of spinal instability. These may include pain, weakness or numbness of the hands and feet.

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