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curvy
31-10-2011, 09:32 PM
Hello Dr S,

I have congenital scoliosis. I had harrington rods inserted in 1990. Recently I have found that I am unable to breathe efficiently when I lay or try to sleep on my back. I feel a pressure on my lungs. I was wondering if this may be in anyway related to my condition or subsequent surgery.

In recent years I have experienced a lot of pain in my hips and neck. I feel as though I have a large block behind my neck and cannot hold my head up straight. My head always bows forward in a "stoop" and my "rib hump" (all delightful terms used on the internet) is more prominent than ever.

I was also curious as to why harrington rods were used in my surgery as late as 1990 when all my research tells me harrington rods were phased out in the 80's.

Some of my details: curve to right 40deg between T2and T11. Butterfly vertebrae at T4 with associated overgrowth of adjacent vertebral bodies. Hemivertebral formation at apex of curve T8. Duplication of posterior elements and ribs on right side. Anomalous development at L2/3 level with narrowing of disc on right with possible fusion between these vertebrae posteriorly. (sorry from an old report and all I have).

Thankyou, Curvy (although these days more humpy than curvy :)

Dr Scoliosis
02-11-2011, 10:14 AM
Thank you for your enquiry. The newer forms of instrumentation became the preferred method of treatment towards the end of the 80s and for very good reasons. However, then the instrumentation available was the Cotrel–Dubousset brand which was very bulky. Certainly, in very small subjects there was still a place for the use of the less-bulky Harrington rods.

From what you have said one would not anticipate that there would be any interference with the function of your lungs. This occurs only when the curves are extreme and approaching 100 degrees. There may be another explanation for the symptoms that you are experiencing when you lie on your back and attempt to drop off to sleep. It would seem appropriate that you be seen by a scoliosis specialist and a list of accredited surgeons (http://www.scoliosis-australia.org/scoliosis/scoliosis_specialists.html) is on our website.

I trust this information is helpful.

Dr Scoliosis