10 facts about scoliosis that may surprise you

10 facts about scoliosis that may surprise you

June is scoliosis awareness month, so to help raise awareness, I thought I’d write a post with some interesting facts about scoliosis.

10 facts about scoliosis that may surprise you

  1. Scoliosis is more common than you think! It is estimated that scoliosis affects 200 million people worldwide. So if you have scoliosis, you are most certainly not alone.
  2. Around eight in 10 people who have scoliosis have idiopathic scoliosis, which has no known cause. This type of scoliosis most commonly develops during the adolescent growth spurt (between the ages of 10-15). Scoliosis is not caused by accidents or from carrying heavy bags, both are common myths.
  3. Most cases of scoliosis are mild and do not require surgical intervention.
  4. Scoliosis is more common in girls than boys. Adolescent girls may be up to 10 times more likely to develop scoliosis than boys.
  5. You can still exercise if you have scoliosis (both before and after scoliosis surgery). In fact, exercise is encouraged as it can help with strengthening the core and back muscles and reducing pain.
  6. Scoliosis can sometimes be hereditary.
  7. Animals can have scoliosis! Scoliosis has been found in fish, cats and dogs amongst others.
  8. Having scoliosis does not mean that you won’t be able to have children – pre or post scoliosis surgery. This is a common myth but in most cases women with scoliosis will have no problems with pregnancy or labour.
  9. There are many celebrities with scoliosis, including Olympic athletes such as Usain Bolt.
  10. Severe scoliosis can affect a person’s appearance due to the twisting and curving of the spine and ribs. This can cause leaning to one side, uneven shoulder blades, one shoulder or hip sticking out, the ribs protruding on one side or the ribs forming a lump on the back.

To find out more about scoliosis, check out my page – what is scoliosis? and please do share this post or the infographic below and help me to raise awareness of scoliosis!

Have you got any interesting facts about scoliosis? Feel free to comment below 🙂

Louise X

Facts about scoliosis








can you feel the metalwork in your back after scoliosis surgery

Costoplasty Questions (also called thoracoplasty)

What is a costoplasty or thoracoplasty?

I’ve been asked a few times about the costoplasty procedure I had at the time of my scoliosis surgery, so I thought I would try and answer a few common queries about costoplasties below.

When the spine curves it can also twist, this causes rotation of the rib cage which results in a “rib hump,” this mainly occurs with thoracic curves that affect the ribs. In my case I had a large thoracic curve and a very prominent “rib hump” on my right side, caused by the rotation of the spine. Some scoliosis curves can be large with very little rotation and some can be small with lots of rotation, every case is different.

A costoplasty, also called thoracoplasty, is a separate procedure to the spinal fusion, which can reduce the appearance of the “rib hump” that is most often associated with thoracic curves. 

A costoplasty will usually involve the removal of sections of several ribs that protrude – in my case my surgeon removed four sections of rib – ouch!!
The idea is that when the ribs grow back, they will grow back straight, providing you with a flatter back. This procedure can be carried out during the same time as the scoliosis surgery, or sometimes as a separate procedure after the spine has fused. 
Note that you can’t have a costoplasty without first having the spinal fusion to stabalise the spine.


Does everyone undergoing scoliosis surgery require a costoplasty?

No. Not everyone with scoliosis will require a costoplasty, it’s generally considered a “cosmetic” procedure. In many cases, especially with the modern instrumentation used nowadays, the surgeon can achieve a fantastic cosmetic outcome without the need for this additional procedure. Also, depending on where the curve is in the spine, the ribs may not be affected and therefore this procedure would not be required. It’s mainly required more for larger, stiffer thoracic curves (like mine). If you have a large rib hump as a result of your scoliosis and are considering spinal fusion, it would be worth discussing the options with your surgeon.


Are you pleased with the results?

Yes. Personally, I had a lot of rotation, my rib hump was very large and I hated it. It made me self-conscious and it was painful and uncomfortable to sit against chairs, this is why I decided to ask my surgeon about the costoplasty.

On reflection I am pleased I had this procedure and I would have it again tomorrow if I had to as the results were so fantastic. My rib hump has disappeared and I still can’t get over how flat my back looks even now. I don’t have many pictures of my rib hump side before surgery as I generally tried not to get that side photographed, however the below pictures shows how my rib hump looked before and after surgery:

Rib hump before costoplasty
Rib hump before costoplasty
Rib hump after costoplasty
Rib hump side after costoplasty
Costoplasty Picture - Before and After
Costoplasty – Before and After

Is having a costoplasty painful?

Yes it WAS painful, but that’s not much of a surprise really bearing in mind I had 4 broken ribs!  It hurt to breathe, sneeze, laugh, move!!

I would say the costoplasty pain was worse than the pain from my spine and lasted about 6 months. But for me the pain was all worth it and was controlled well with painkillers 🙂

It’s also worth noting that having a costoplasty adds time onto your recovery period – I had to wear a brace for 3 months to protect the healing ribs – whereas many patients are not required to wear a brace following scoliosis surgery. 

Are there additional risks to having a costoplasty?

Yes, as with any surgical procedure there are risks and complications that can occur with a costoplasty and you should always discuss all the options and risks with your surgeon before making a decision. For example, it lengthens the duration of the surgery and the time that you are under anesthetic.

Hope this helps please feel free to ask any further questions you may have about this procedure and I’ll do my best to help 🙂

Louise x

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What is a costoplasty