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Speaking Scoliosis for Children and Adults
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 12 Noon (Eastern Time)

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Thomas Kuivila, MD

  • Orthopaedic & Rheumatologic Institute
  • Center for Pediatric Orthopaedics
  • Cleveland Clinic

Richard Schlenk, MD

  • Neurological Institute
  • Center for Spine Health
  • Cleveland Clinic

Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curvature and rotation of the spine. About 2 to 3 percent of the U.S. population, or 7 million people, have this condition. Scoliosis may be detected in infancy, childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. While this condition affects both males and females, females are 10 times more likely than males to need corrective surgery for it. Take advantage of this chat to speak to a pediatric scoliosis specialist, Thomas Kuivila, MD, and an adult scoliosis specialist, Richard Schlenk, MD.

Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curvature and rotation of the spine. About 2 to 3 percent of the U.S. population, or 7 million people, have this condition. Scoliosis may be detected in infancy, childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. While this condition affects both males and females, females are 10 times more likely than males to need corrective surgery for it.
ScoliScore, a new diagnostic test, is available for children ages 9 through 13 who have spinal curvatures greater than 10 to 25 degrees. This convenient offices test, available at Cleveland Clinic, checks the saliva for the presence of certain genes that help to predict how much the curve will progress.

The thing to pay attention to is whether or not scoliosis progresses. Curves that are larger have a greater chance of progressing than smaller curves. However, even mild curvatures may worsen as a child’s spine grows. Progression can lead to severe consequences in adulthood, including lung and heart problems and potential back pain. That’s why it’s important to detect scoliosis as early as possible, monitor its progress and intervene when necessary.

Thomas Kuivila, MD, staff physician and surgeon in the Center for Pediatric Orthopaedics, sees patients up to age 21. Dr. Kuivila’s specialty interests include congenital and developmental spinal disorders (scoliosis, kyphosis and sponylolysis and lithesis), pediatric orthopaedic traumatology. He did his orthopaedic surgery residency at Cleveland Clinic, served as an A-O international orthopaedic traumatology fellow in Graz, Austria and was a pediatric orthopaedic surgery fellow at Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I. Dr. Kuivila then spent six years in the United States Air Force Medical Corps. There, he served as Orthopaedic Department Chairman at Keesler U.S.A.F. Medical Center in Biloxi, Miss., and subsequently as the Chief of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery at Wilford Hall U.S.A.F. Medical Center in San Antonio, Tex.

Richard Schlenk, MD, staff physician and surgeon in the Center for Spine Health sees patients ages 21 and older. Dr. Schlenk received his medical degree from New Jersey Medical School, then went on to complete his residency at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-University Hospital and his fellowship at Cleveland Clinic. His specialty interests include scoliosis, complex spinal reconstruction, minimally invasive spine surgery and spinal tumors.

To make an appointment with Thomas Kuivila, MD or any of the other specialists in our Center for Pediatric Orthopaedics at Cleveland Clinic, please call toll-free at 866.275.7496. You can also visit us online at clevelandclinic.org/ortho.

To make an appointment with Richard Schlenk, MD or any other of the specialists in our Neurological Institute at Cleveland Clinic, please call 216.636.5860 or call toll-free at 866.588.2264. You can also visit us online at clevelandclinic.org/spine.

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