Experts underscore importance of early screening vs scoliosis

Experts underscore importance 
of early screening vs scoliosis
Scoliosis Philippines/Facebook

A REPRESENTATIVE from the Department of Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) said that they advocate for early diagnosis of scoliosis, especially among elementary students.

Dr. Mohammad Khalil A. Guinomla, trauma and spine consultant at the Department of Orthopedics of SPMC, said this during the Healthy Davao Media Forum on Monday morning, June 24, 2024, at SM Ecoland.

He emphasized that medical practitioners can prevent the progression of scoliosis if this is detected early through screening.

“It’s very important to have proper screening, especially for our elementary students. Sometimes, the problem arises when patients visit the clinic, and the disease is already somewhat severe. However, in earlier stages, if you have proper screening tools like an x-ray, we can correct it through non-surgical means,” he said.

Guinomla encouraged parents to check if their child has any deformities and to have them examined by a professional, as scoliosis is sometimes detected during physical examinations at school.

He also stressed that the earlier the diagnosis and intervention, the better the prognosis for the patient. 

Patients in the younger age group (10 to 14 years old) are subjected to more aggressive treatment because, beyond that age, treatment becomes more challenging.

"Some patients respond well to bracing, but for those with a curvature of 50 degrees or more, surgery is advised, especially if the curvature is progressing. Severe scoliosis can affect the rib cage, potentially causing organs within the cage to become compressed due to the curvature,” he said.

In 2019, SPMC conducted an annual medical mission in collaboration with a foundation, treating eight to 10 scoliosis patients per month for free. However, this initiative was discontinued due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Guinomla expressed hope that it would resume in the future.

Currently, the hospital has three scoliosis patients scheduled for surgery. He noted that many individuals with scoliosis do not undergo surgery due to the high cost of implants.

Guinomla described scoliosis as a curvature of the spine that, when viewed from the front, resembles the letter "S." He clarified that it differs from kyphosis, which involves excessive forward rounding of the upper back. Scoliosis has both structural and non-structural components.

One of the most common types of scoliosis is juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, often of unknown cause. Other types include physiologic scoliosis, where the spine has a curvature of about 20 degrees, and postural scoliosis.

Factors contributing to scoliosis include conditions such as cerebral palsy, burn contractures, and leg length discrepancy.

Internationally, scoliosis affects two to three percent of the population and is prevalent in Europe.

June is celebrated as “Scoliosis Awareness Month” by proclamation number 620, signed by Former President Rodrigo R. Duterte. RGP

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