Dr. Kevin Yip

Dr Kevin Yip
Orthopaedic Surgeon
MBBS(UK), FRCS(EDIN), FAM(SING), FHKCOS(ORTHO)

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Juvenile Kyphosis (Scheuermann’s disease)

Scheuermann’s disease is a hereditary condition which produces progressive rounding of the back (kyphosis) and can sometimes hinder sporting activity. The complaint mainly affects adolescent boys. Usually three to five thoracic vertebrae are involved, which become wedge-shaped.

Symptoms and diagnosis

– Slight fatigue in the thoracic region is present on exertion after the affected person has (for example) been sitting in school all day.
– Weakness and pain are felt in connection with strenuous back exercise or loading the back.
– The complaints is often brought to medical attention by parents, coaches, or trainers when they notice changes in the shape of the child’s back.
– Increased breathing capacity is found in, for example, swimmers and skaters.
– An X-ray examination or a CT or MRI scan confirms the diagnosis. Adolescents who have long-standing back complaints of this type can be X-rayed so that infectious diseases and tumors of the vertebral column can be ruled out.

Treatment

– In cases of weakness of the back, physiotherapy and muscle strength training may be of help.
– The disease progresses relatively slowly until the skeleton has stopped growing. In cases of exceptionally rapid progression, a corset, brace, or support is prescribed.

Healing and complications

– The disease seldom causes any further symptoms once the growth of the skeleton has ceased.
– Individuals who suffer this back deformity have, as adults, a lower rate of absenteeism from work because of back problems than other people.

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