What is a Cobb angle? Spine Solutions explains.

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

The Cobb angle is a measurement of the curvature of the spine in degrees. This helps us to determine what type of treatment is necessary. A Cobb angle of 10 degree is regarded as a minimum angulation to define Scoliosis.

A scoliosis curve of 10 to 15 degrees normally does not require any treatment except for regular check-ups with and orthopaedic specialist. This happens until the patient has gone through puberty, and finished growing. The curvature of the spine usually do not worsen after puberty.

If the scoliosis curve is 20 to 40 degrees, your orthopaedic specialist will generally prescribe a back brace. This will help to keep the spine from developing more of a curve. There are several types of braces out in the market. Some are worn for 18 to 20 hours a day, others only at night time. Which type of brace you will be prescribed depends on the patient's lifestyle and of course, the severity of the curve(s).

Do I need surgery? It depends, surgery may be required to correct the curve if the Cobb angle is 40 or 50 degrees or more. Your surgeon will perform a procedure known as spinal fusion to link or “fuse” the vertebrae together so that the spine can no longer continue to curve. To correct the curve and hold everything in line until the bones heal, metal rods, screws, hooks and wires will be used. For teenagers who have had surgery to correct their scoliosis will usually return to school about a month after surgery, and should be able to gradually return to all normal activities after 6 to 12 months post surgery.

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