Dr. Galeno is trained in performing minimally invasive spine procedures to correct a spinal problem and lessen pain.


Scoliosis | John A. Galeno MD : NY, White Plains

The term “scoliosis” means abnormal curve of the spine. Scoliosis is evident in X-rays when a backbone has a C shape or an S shape. There are different causes, sometimes unknown.

• Functional scoliosis occurs when a normal spine develops an abnormal curve from another problem in the body. Muscle spasms in the back or one leg being shorter than the other may cause functional scoliosis.

• Neuromuscular scoliosis occurs when the bones of the spine do not form completely, or the bones do not separate from each other during fetal development. Usually this type of scoliosis is the result another disease like birth defects, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or Marfan’s disease. These patients end up with the C-shaped spinal curve because their muscles are too weak to hold them up properly.

• Degenerative scoliosis occurs in older patients as a result of arthritis. Ligaments and soft tissue of the spine become weak, and bone spurs develop, creating an abnormal curvature of the spine. Osteoporosis is another cause of the unnatural curving of the spine.

• Spinal tumors can also lead to an abnormal curving of the spine because the patient leans to one side to lessen the pain.

Scoliosis is two times more common in girls than in boys, and most children are over 10 years of age before there is an occurrence of it. It is hereditary, but the amount of abnormal curving between generations is not predictable, and it does vary.

The most common symptom of scoliosis is the actual curve of the spine, causing the patient’s head to appear to be off center. One hip or shoulder may seem higher than the other. In severe cases, there may be shortness of breath and chest pain due to difficulty with the heart and lungs caused by the scoliosis.

The treatment of scoliosis may entail wearing a brace. If this is not effective, then surgery will likely be recommended. The surgical treatment of the disease is to make a spinal fusion of the bones in the spine. The curve is corrected as far as possible and bones are fused to avoid further curving. Metal screws, hooks and rods will be used to accomplish the fusing, and bone grafts will be added to get the bones to grow together solidly. The metal parts are left inside because it is better for the healing process.

If too much spinal curvature is caused by a tumor, removing the tumor is usually all that is needed to straighten out the spine. An effective medical solution will be recommended after analyzing the patient’s symptoms and diagnostic workups.