View Full Version : Wedge Vertebrae -- info needed please

02-18-2005, 02:42 PM
Hi -- I am writing in the hopes that some of you may have some knowledge about Surgery to Remove a Wedge Vertebrae -- such as success rates, long-term effects on the child (good or bad), the recovery period, advice you can offer, things to be aware of, etc.

Here's the background:

Our five year old daughter has been just diagnosed with congential scoliosis, caused by a wedge vertebrae in the lumbar (i.e., lower) section of her back. As a result, she has a 40 degree curve in the lower section of her back, although it is not visible when you look at her.

How it was found: She was being x-rayed for pain in her hip (that later went away) and the scoliosis was discovered 'by accident.' Although the curve looks very prominent on the x-ray, no one (including doctors) ever caught it when looking at her from 'the outside'. You really can't tell she has it. There are no visible signs of trunk malformation and she is very active and flexible and has no physical limitations.

Right now, we have seen a pediatric orthopedist and are in the 'wait and see if it gets worse stage.' Our daughter is going back for a second x-ray in four months, to see if it has progressed. She will also be getting an MRI soon to look at tissues in the area, etc.

The orthopedist thinks it is most likely the curve will become worse due to two factors: (1) that our daughter is young and there is lots of growing time left, and (2) because the curve is in the lumbar/lower section, this apparently creates more problems than curves that are higher up.

If it does progress (and we of course hope it does not -- and the doctor said that although that *could* happen, it doesn't look likely) surgery is apparently the next/only option.

The doctor said the most likely course would be to do surgery to remove the wedge vertebrae and 'correct' the position of her spine. If/when that happens, we do not want to rush into anything and want to learn as much as we can.

So... have you, or anyone you know, ever had a child with scoliosis caused by a wedge vertebrae or similar malformation? How did the child progress? If surgery was done, how did it go? What were the results (good or bad)? What is the recovery period like? Any other thoughts?

Any information you can provide would be *very* much appreciated. Thank you.


Tiffany S.
09-07-2006, 07:35 PM
I am not on this list very often and just saw your post. Have you had surgery yet? Will You?

My son has a wedge vert as well, our doctor says it can not be removed because its to close to the hart and would be very dangerous. My signature blurb has more info on my son. I am in a yahoo chat group for congenital scoliosis and some of the kids there have had the vert extraction surgery. I would recommend you try joining this list.

Best wishes,
Mama to 5 beautiful redheaded boys
Rory age 13, Evin age 9, Brandel age 5, identical twins Keegan and Conley age 2. Keegan has progressive congenital scoliosis at 54 a hemi vertebra, two fused ribs, several vertebrae fusions, a missing right kidney and a syrinx causing lower limb nerve damage that will require surgery at the end of summer 2006

09-07-2006, 09:22 PM
Hi Bluegray,

I don't know very much about congenital scoliosis and I agree that joining a congenital support group is a good idea however.....there are two excellent presentations on congenital scoliosis here:

The first one is at 9:34 by M.J. McMaster


The second one at 9:45 by Douglas Hedden


Hope this helps :)


09-07-2006, 09:34 PM
Hi Bluegray...

I'm sure you'll get good information from the folks here. My only recommendation would be to be certain that your child is being seen by a scoliosis specialist, and not just a general orthopaedist or spine surgeon who doesn't specialize in deformities.

Best of luck.


09-08-2006, 06:10 AM
Hi bluegray-
I just saw your post. I was born with at least 2 wedge-shaped vertebra
(hemivertebrae) that caused my spine to curve in the shape of an "S". Mine wasn't discovered until I was 15.
I see that your daughter is 5 and already has a 40 degree curve, I might have had one that large at 5 too but like you said it isn't noticeable from the outside.
No one can ever predict how quickly a curve will progress, but with congenital
scoliosis it is unfortunately more likely because there is an actual reason.
With idiopathic scoliosis- they don't know why the spine bends, it just does.
I don't know much about pediatric orthopaedic surgery, but it sounds like you are getting some good orthopaedic opinions. I understand how you must feel
-it was hard on my mom too. It seems to me that replacing the wedge vertebrae while she's still very young sounds reasonable. It might save her from bigger problems in the future.
They do surgery so much different than when I had my first in 1982-there is much better technology and instrumentation now. At 15 I had major surgery and healed really fast. At 5 I am sure the healing process would be even quicker. Doctors and nurses on pediatric wards are so great with kids. Even at 15 I was considered pediatric and they read me a book "Teddy has an operation" and were very supportive.

Find the top pediatric orthopaedic surgeons in your area, weigh your options
carefully and know that you and your daughter are in my prayers. ;)