Orthopaedic Surgery Common Conditions

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Orthopaedic Surgery Common Conditions

Below is an alphabetic list of common orthopaedic conditions, treatments, and definitions.

Adolescent Scoliosis

Lateral spinal curvature that appears before the onset of puberty and before skeletal maturity.

Adult Scoliosis

Scoliosis of any cause which is present after skeletal maturity.


Any tissue transferred from one site to another in the same individual (iliac bone from the pelvis is commonly used to supplement the fusion mass).

Autologous Blood

Blood collected from a person for later transfusion to that same person. This technique is often used prior to elective surgery if blood loss is expected to occur. This may avoid the use of bank blood from unknown donors and significantly reduces the risk of acquiring transmitted diseases.


The practice and technique of transfusing previously drawn autologous blood back to the same patient.

Bone Scan

Creates images of bones on computer screen or film to diagnose and monitor spinal deformities.

Cervical Spine

The portion of the vertebral column contained in the neck, consisting of seven cervical vertebrae between the skull and the rib cage.

Compensatory Curve

In spinal deformity, a secondary curve located above or below the structural curvature, which develops in order to maintain normal body alignment.

Computerized Tomography Scan (CT or CAT scan)

Diagnostic imaging procedure shows more detailed image of body than X-ray.
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Congenital Scoliosis

Scoliosis due to bony abnormalities of the spine present at birth. These anomalies are classified as failure of vertebral formation and/or failure of segmentation.


In scoliosis, this refers to loss of spinal balance when the thoracic cage is not centered over the pelvis.


Removal of all or part of an intervertebral disc (the soft tissue that acts as a shock absorber between the vertebral bodies).

Double Curve 

Two lateral curvatures (scoliosis) in the same spine. 

Double Major Curve 

Describes a scoliosis in which these are two structural curves which are usually of equal size. 

Double Thoracic Curve

A scoliosis with a structural upper thoracic curve, as well as a larger, more deforming lower thoracic curve, and a relatively non-structural lumbar curve.


A congenital anomaly of the spine caused by incomplete development of one side of a vertebra resulting in a wedge shape.

Hysterical Scoliosis

A non-structural deformity of the spine that develops as a manifestation of a psychological disorder.

Idiopathic Scoliosis

A structural spinal curvature for which cause has not been established.


An instrument used to measure the angle of thoracic prominence, referred to a as angle of trunk rotation (ATR).

Infantile Scoliosis

A curvature of the spine that develops before three years of age.

Juvenile Scoliosis 

Scoliosis developing between the ages of three and ten years.


A structural scoliosis associated with increased roundback.


A posterior convex angulation of the spine as evaluated on a side view of the spine. Contract to lordosis


A lateral curvature of the spine associated with increased swayback.


An anterior angulation of the spine in the sagittal plane. Contrast to kyphosis.

Lumbar Curve 

A spinal curvature whose apex is between the first and fourth lumbar vertebrae (also know as lumbar scoliosis).


Pertaining to the lumbar and sacral regions of the back.

Lumbosacral Curve 

A lateral curvature with its apex at the fifth lumbar vertebrae or below (also know as lumbosacral scoliosis).

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) 

Uses radiofrequency pulses on tissues in a magnetic field and displays images without tge use of ionizing radiation.

Neural Monitoring 

A test that measures signals from nerves of the spinal cord. This monitoring is typically done in most spine surgeries.

Neuromuscular Scoliosis 

A form of scoliosis caused by a neurological disorder of the central nervous system or muscle.

Nonstructural Curve 

Description of a spinal curvature or scoliosis that does not have fixed residual deformity.


Bony process projecting backward from the body of a vertebra, which connects with the lamina on either side.

Posterior Fusion 

A technique of stabilizing two or more vertebrae by bone grafting.

Primary Curve

The first or earliest curve to appear.

Risser Sign

Used to indicate spinal maturity, this refers to the appearance of a crescentic line of bone formation which appears across the top of each side of the pelvis.


Curved triangular bone at the base of the spine, consisting of five fused vertebrae known as sacral vertebrae. The sacrum articulates with the last lumbar vertebra and laterally with the pelvic bones.


A proprietary name for an inclinometer used in measuring trunk rotation.


Lateral deviation of the normal vertical line of the spine which, when measured by X-ray, is greater than ten degrees. Scoliosis consists of a lateral curvature of the spine with rotation of the vertebrae within the curve.

Spinal Instrumentation

Metal implants fixed to the spine to improve spinal deformity while the fusion matures. This includes a wide variety of rods, hooks, wires and screws used in various combinations.


An inflammatory disease of the spine.


An anterior displacement of a vertebra on the adjacent lower vertebra.

Structural Curve 

A segment of the spine that has fixed lateral curvature.

Thoracic Curvature 

Any spinal curvature in which the apex of the curve is between the second and eleventh thoracic vertebrae.

Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome

The chest or the thorax, made up of the rib cage, sternum, and spine, is unable to support lung growth and normal respiratory function. The thorax needs adequate space for the lungs to grow. For the thorax to function properly, there must be an ideal volume for age, the ribs must be formed normally, and the diaphragm, a thin muscle at the base of the thorax, must contract and relax properly.

Thoracolumbar Curve 

Any curvature that has its apex at the twelfth thoracic or first lumbar vertebra.

Thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO) 

A type of brace incorporating the thoracic and lumbar spine.


A diagnostic test that utilizes energy waves to produce images of deep, soft tissue structures.

Vertebral Column 

The flexible supporting column of vertebrae separated by discs and bound together by ligaments.


The use of electromagnetic radiation to produce a 2-dimentional image of a part of the musculoskeletal system.

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