View Full Version : Scoliosis Spina bifida and surgery

29-05-2017, 06:44 AM
My 14 yr daughter has scoliosis and her last X-ray showed an estimated Cobb's angle of 45deg. The X-ray also showed up Spina bifida at S1. I see the specialist in 5 weeks. Would having Spina bifida complicate surgery if we take that option?
And can running (we are training for a 10km run in 4 weeks) potentially make her back worse? She is in pain, but wants to run. Thanks in advance.

Dr Scoliosis
07-06-2017, 02:24 PM
Dear Peta,

Thanks for your enquiry. Regarding spina bifida, there are 2 types - cystica and occulta. Cystica is the type which is associated with abnormal formation of the spinal cord and overlying tissues. The nerves are essentially "exposed to the air”. People with this condition usually have marked weakness or paralysis of the legs, along with other problems. Spina bifida occulta is a completely different and innocent situation. It refers to an x ray finding of a gap in the posterior part of one of the spinal bones - usually L5 or S1. It is found in up to 10% of people. It almost never has any associated nerve problems. So, it will have no bearing on the scoliosis, even if surgery is necessary. If the specialist is concerned, an MRI can be done to ensure that there is no other abnormality.

Regarding exercise, your daughter can keep running, or do any other sport she wishes. Her back is not weak, just curved. Running will not make it worse. Back pain is a common association with scoliosis and is usually only a nuisance. Back pain interfering with activity should be investigated by her specialist.

I hope this helps,

Dr S

07-06-2017, 08:41 PM
Thank you, yes it does help! We'll keep running, I've just been worried about my daughter doing further damage. The spina bifida was picked up on an X-ray and there are definitely no exposed nerves. I'm yet to see the specialist (a few weeks away now- so not long) but have been really stressing about possible outcomes for her back. Sitting in a chair hurts her more than anything. Thanks for reiterating that sport is fine.