Medical professionals use a mind-boggling array of different terms to refer to scoliosis and other curvatures of the spine. On this blog, we frequently aim to put some of this arcane diagnostic jargon into layman’s terms – see our posts on levoconvex scoliosis and thoracic hyperkyphosis, for example.

The tricky medical term that we’d like to look at today is thoracogenic scoliosis. At first glance, this phrase may look like it means the same thing as thoracic scoliosis – that is, a sideways curve in the ‘thoracic’ (upper/middle) region of your backbone.

But don’t be tripped up! Thoracogenic scoliosis is a far more specific term than thoracic scoliosis, and they should not be used interchangeably.

So what is thoracogenic scoliosis?

According to the Scoliosis Research Society’s Revised Glossary of Terms, thoracogenic scoliosis is a “spinal curvature attributable to disease or operative trauma in or on the thoracic cage”.

In simpler terms, thoracogenic scoliosis is what we call a spinal curve that was caused by either surgery or a disease in the thoracic region (that is, the part of the body that’s highlighted in the image below).

Thoracic Spine

This raises another question…

What can cause thoracogenic scoliosis?

There are several diseases and operations that can trigger the development of scoliosis. Here are just a couple of examples:

  • Thoracotomy (surgical operation). A thoracotomy involves opening up the patient’s chest, usually to access vital organs such as the heart or lungs. Scoliosis very rarely results from a thoracotomy, but it can happen, as in this case where the patient developed scoliosis post-surgery as the result of her rib fusion.

  • Lymphoma (disease). Cancers such as lymphoma may, if they grow large enough, disrupt the spine and push it into a curved / skewed position.

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we treat all types of scoliosis in patients of all ages. Click here to learn about our treatment methods, or if you’d like to arrange an initial consultation, please contact us today.

Doctors and other medical professionals use a lot of long words when describing scoliosis, to the point where some patients find it difficult to know exactly what they’re being diagnosed with. You probably know that scoliosis is a sideways spinal curve, but would you understand what the doctor meant if – for example – they told you that you had mild thoracic dextroscoliosis?

To help you better grasp the terminology associated with scoliosis and other curvatures of the spine, we’d like to take a moment to break that mouthful down. If you want to know what ‘mild thoracic dextroscoliosis’ actually means, read on…

Mild

Let’s start with the easy bit. The word ‘mild’ indicates that, as things stand, your spinal curve is not especially severe – although it may get worse over time. A mild case of scoliosis may not be visible to the casual observer, although other symptoms may still be present.

What counts as a ‘mild’ spinal curve?

Generally speaking, if your Cobb angle measurement is 20 degrees or less, you can be said to have ‘mild’ scoliosis (bear in mind that a curve of less than 10 degrees would not be classed as scoliosis at all). Note that the word ‘mild’ here only refers to the angle of the curve – a person with mild scoliosis may still experience a significant amount of pain, reduced flexibility, etc.

Thoracic

The next word is ‘thoracic’, which simply means that your spinal curve is located in the upper (thoracic) part of the spine, coloured red in the diagram below.

If your curve is located in the lower part of the spine, you are said to have ‘lumbar’ scoliosis. When the curve encompasses vertebrae from both the thoracic and lumbar spine, that’s called thoracolumbar scoliosis.

Dextroscoliosis

Finally, we come to the longest word of the three: ‘dextroscoliosis’. This term is taken from the Latin word dexter, which simply means ‘right’ (as in the opposite of left); therefore, if you have a case of dextroscoliosis, you have a spine that curves to the right.

As the image above shows, scoliosis that curves towards the left side of the body is known as levoscoliosis. If you’re ever struggling to remember which is which, just remember that ‘levoscoliosis’ and ‘left’ both begin with the letter L.

Now, let’s put it all together…

What does ‘mild thoracic dextroscoliosis’ mean?

If you have mild thoracic dextroscoliosis, you have:

  • A spinal curve measuring 10-20 degrees
  • …in the upper (thoracic) part of your spine…
  • …that curves towards the right side of your body.

If you have been diagnosed with mild thoracic dextroscoliosis and require treatment, simply click above to book your consultation. For further information on dextroscoliosis or if you have questions regarding our treatments, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

Case Study: Anna, aged 36

Anna has a mild case of scoliosis, but that doesn’t stop her feeling self-conscious about her condition. At the time when she came to us for treatment, she was about to get married. Despite only having a mild case of scoliosis, that might not have even been detectable to others, Anna knew that her scoliosis curvature would be playing on her mind throughout her big day. Our treatments helped her feel confident enough to wear her backless wedding dress! 

Watch our full interview with Anna here: