Hope & Healing: The UF Health Blog

Scoliosis: A Medical Spotlight

June is Scoliosis Awareness Month and we caught up with Laurel Blakemore, M.D., the Division Chief of Pediatric Orthopaedics at UF Health, who specializes in Scoliosis surgery and spinal deformities. See what she has to say on the topic in the Q and A below:

photo of doctor blakemore

What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often in children and just before puberty.

What causes scoliosis and who can be affected?
The causes are mostly unknown, but the disorder is hereditary and runs in families. There are several different types, which can affect children of all ages as young as newborns. Some cause no problems while others, especially in young children, can become life-threatening.

Your focus is pediatric orthopaedics so what are some early signs and symptoms parents can be aware of in their children? Potential treatment options?
Signs of scoliosis may include uneven shoulders or waistline, a bump on the back or occasionally back discomfort.
Treatment of children is very different, especially in young children whose bodies need to keep getting taller! Braces or casts are used whenever possible to avoid surgery, and surgery is often geared towards preserving spine growth.

What are some of the unique benefits to choosing UF Health for treatment of scoliosis and related conditions?
Scoliosis in children is best treated by a doctor with special training in pediatric orthopaedic surgery. UF Health has fellowship-trained specialists in pediatric spine deformity. They use non-surgical and surgical strategies to offer individualized care for children with these conditions.

Do you have any additional resources for parents/individuals who may have further questions?
Scoliosis Research Society

Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America

Blakemore along with Stephanie Ihnow, M.D., are fellowship-trained and Board Certified Pediatric Orthopaedic surgeons, both showing clinical interests in scoliosis.

About the Author

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Michael Ward

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Michael Ward joined the UF Health Communications team in 2019 and serves as...Read More