Welcome to Cleveland Clinic Online Health Chats

Get answers to your health questions and concerns. It's easy to be part of our live chat events, led by Cleveland Clinic physicians and health professionals.

Scoliosis in Children and Adults
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 12 Noon (Eastern Time)

Sign up for this chat today.Register Now

Click Join Chat to join the chat in progress.You will be asked to login if you aren't already logged in.Join Chat

Ryan Goodwin, MD

  • Orthopaedic & Rheumatologic Institute
  • Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Cleveland Clinic

R. Douglas Orr, MD

  • Neurological Institute
  • Center for Spine Health
  • Cleveland Clinic

Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curvature and rotation of the spine. Although most common in young teenagers, scoliosis affects children as well as adults. Scoliosis affects about 2% – 3% of the pediatric population and up to 30% of adults worldwide. 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, Ryan Goodwin, MD, and an adult scoliosis specialist, R. Douglas Orr, MD.

Your spine is the backbone of your body. It is made up of 33 vertebrae and stretches from your head to your tailbone. Your spine houses your spinal cord, a collection of nerves and cells that connect with your brain, to form the central nervous system. When the spine curves due to diseases such as Scoliosis, functional and cosmetic issues arise. These symptoms can be painful but are rarely dangerous.

In most cases, the cause behind scoliosis is unknown but it’s thought to be a combination of factors including abnormal development of the bones, soft ligaments or weak muscles, or abnormalities with the inner ear and balance functions. The resulting curvature of the spine affects all of the muscles in the back, as well as the alignment of the hip.

Scoliosis treatment methods depend on your age, how much more you are likely to grow, the degree and pattern of your spine's curve, the extent of pain, functional limitation and cosmetic appearance of the spine. Bracing may be used to temporarily halt the worsening of the curve during a growth spurt.

For deformities of the spine approaching or greater than 45 degrees, associated with pain, functional impairment or severe cosmetic deformity, your doctor may recommend spine stabilization surgery. The goal of stabilization surgery is to straighten and hold the spine straight in the safest fashion possible. To accomplish this the surgeon fuses the bones of the spine (vertebrae) together with the help of bone grafts, and uses metallic implants to hold everything together till the fusion matures.

Ryan C. Goodwin, MD, joined the staff at Cleveland Clinic in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery after completing special training in Pediatric Orthopaedics and Scoliosis surgery at Children’s Hospital San Diego/University of California at San Diego. Dr. Goodwin completed his residency training in Orthopaedic Surgery at Cleveland Clinic in 2003. He also served his surgical internship at Cleveland Clinic and received is medical degree at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Tulane University.
His primary interests include pediatric and adolescent hip disorders, scoliosis and spine deformity, pediatric trauma and clubfoot. Dr. Goodwin devotes the majority of his time to patient care, but is also involved in clinical research as well as resident and medical student education. He currently serves as Assistant Program Director for the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency and holds an appointment as Assistant Professor at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University.

R. Douglas Orr, MD, is a Staff physician in the Center for Spine Health and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, located on the main campus of Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Orr's specialty interests include kyphosis, scoliosis, spinal tumor, and adult spinal surgery, including minimally invasive surgery and deformity surgery. In addition, his research interests include outcomes in spinal surgery, spinal biomechanics and biomaterials. Dr. Orr received his medical degree from the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine where he also completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery and fellowship in orthopaedic spinal surgery. He also completed a fellowship in spine surgery at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinic.

To make an appointment with Ryan Goodwin, 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 R. Douglas Orr, MD or any other of the specialists in our Center for Spine Health 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.

This Health Chat is currently open to allow you to submit questions. We will try to answer as many questions as possible during the chat. Please create an account to attend the chat and submit your questions.