Dr. Sean McCance, a top NYC spinal scoliosis specialist surgeon, commonly diagnoses, treats, and when necessary performs spinal surgery to correct scoliosis in both the pediatric and adult patient. Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine, or backbone. Instead of a straight vertical line from the neck to the buttocks, the spine has a C- or S-shape. Scoliosis can result in uneven shoulders and hips, rotation of the rib cage, pelvic tilt, changes in posture and pain.

“After much hesitancy and pain I finally took the advice of a dear friend and made an an appointment to see Dr. McCance for a scoliosis diagnosis. Ten months later I am certainly thankful I did! I was diagnosed with kyphoscoliosis. Dr. McCance was extremely thorough in his ordering of xrays and his preoperative consultations with me. After much gathering of medical information all results indicated the need for surgery. My surgery involved fusions from T4 to my Sacrum/Pelvis. On 1/31/11 Dr. McCance performed 9 hours of spinal surgery to correct my kyphoscoliosis. Two days later I was out of bed and on a walker. I cannot say enough about Dr. McCance as a person and an extremely skilled surgeon. It is now 7 months later and I feel as though I have been given a whole new life to live and enjoy. A simple,”Thank you” never seems to be sufficient. From the first visit to his office all staff were so professional and caring. Last but not least, Dr. McCance has always made himself readily available to address any concerns.” ~RateMDs

Causes of Scoliosis

In many cases the cause of scoliosis is not known, it may be hereditary due to ageing. Sometimes it is related to a congenital birth defect, disease or infection. It often develops in childhood, before puberty, though it may not be diagnosed until the teen years. Other cases develop in adulthood. Scoliosis is classified based on the age at diagnosis:

  • Juvenile scoliosis: 3-10 years old
  • Adolescent scoliosis: from age 10-end of growing period
  • Adult: over age 20

Risk Factors

  • Family history of scoliosis
  • Adolescent years
  • In Adults:
    • Degenerative Disk Disease
    • Osteoporosis
    • Scoliosis as a child
    • Progressive spinal degeneration with aging
    • Family History

Symptoms of Scoliosis

  • Postural changes
  • Uneven shoulders
  • Prominent shoulder blade or ribs
  • Uneven waist
  • An elevated hip
  • Leaning to one side
  • Chronic back pain (usually in adulthood)

More Severe Cases Of Scoliosis Can Lead To:

  • Body image issues
  • Pain
  • Decreased ability to stand or walk
  • In severe cases, breathing difficulties due to pressure on the lungs and heart

Medical Diagnosis of Scoliosis

Scoliosis can be diagnosed by the NYC scoliosis specialist, Dr. Sean McCance, by physical exam, patient history, and xrays.  If you would like the NYC scoliosis specialist to diagnose you or your child, Dr. McCance will:

  • Examine the mid and lower back (thoracic and lumbar spine)
  • Provide a neurological exam, including reflexes and strength testing
  • Assess overall postural measurements, such as trunk rotation, shoulder height, pelvis alignment or leg length
  • Measure spinal curvature: In general, curves that are greater than 20 degrees require observation and treatment. The medical community classifies curves of the spine by their location, shape, pattern, and cause. The NYC spinal surgeon use this information to decide how to treat the condition.
  • Medical diagnostic imaging may be necessary which may include X-Ray, MRI, CAT Scan, etc.

Treatment Options For Scoliosis Include:

  • Children
    • Observation
      • We will monitor the curve by examining you every 3-6 months if your curve is less than 20 degrees or if you are almost done growing.
    • Bracing
      • The goal of bracing is to prevent curves from getting worse. We may recommend that you wear a back brace if you are still growing and your curve is more than 20. Once you stop growing, the need for more treatment will depend on the size of the curve and how it affects your appearance and function. Braces are not typically used beyond the ages of 15-16 for girls and 17-18 for boys.
    • Scoliosis Surgery
      • Scoliosis surgery becomes necessary if the curve continues to progress in size despite bracing, and  curves and above 40 degrees are considered for surgery, particularly if the child is still growing.
  • Adults
    • Observation if curve is mild, or stable, or minimally symptomatic
    • Medications (NSAIDs)
    • Bracing (for support and pain relief)
    • Physical therapy or chiropractic
    • Injections, including epidural steroid injections and facet blocks
    • Surgery, if the curve is painful, becomes progressively larger, or causes significant postural disturbance

Spinal Scoliosis Surgery

In severe cases where the curvature is greater than 40-50 degrees, the NYC best in class scoliosis surgeon may recommend surgery to correct a curve or prevent the condition from worsening. Surgery typically involves correcting the curvature using screws and rods, and fusing the vertebrae together with the use of internal rods to correct the curvature.

  • Surgical techniques using segmental fixation, spinal realignment procedures, and selective minimally invasive techniques are employed
  • Anterior, posterior or combined approaches are used, depending upon the type of curve
  • For patients who have had scoliosis surgery in the past, further surgery may become necessary as the spine ages

When Should You Contact The NYC Scoliosis Surgeon

For children:

  • Curvature exceeds 20 degrees
  • You’ve been told you need surgery

For adults:

  • Progressively increasing pain
  • Worsening posture due to scoliosis
  • Curve progression, especially curves over 40
  • You’ve been told you need surgery
  • Development of neurological symptoms including numbness or weakness

Our best in class, Upper East Side, NYC back & neck pain diagnosis & surgery practice, Spine Associates, is honored to provide you with highly personalized and comprehensive care. Our philosophy of direct management of your case by an expert spine surgeon has made us one of the most trusted and respected spine surgery practices on the Upper East Side in NYC and the world. Feel free to contact the pediatric & adult scoliosis diagnosis specialist today to discuss your unique scoliosis condition (for you or your child) and start on the road to recovery.

Dr. Sean McCance
1155 Park Avenue, Suite E
New York, NY 10128
(212) 360-6500