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Spine and Back Health

Scoliosis in the neck & missing vertebraes

07/30/2008

Question:

Hello. Doctors have told my husband that he has severe scoliosis in his neck along with one vertebrae that is missing and many vertebrae are fused together. Some are not even in the correct spot. Everything is bone to bone. It has nothing to do with muscles, so physicial therphy does not help. He gets severe migraines that lasts for days. He is in so much pain that he can`t get out of bed on some days. He has been seen by our family doctor, specialists, and at a neurospine & pain center. They all say they have never seen anything like this before, and that they have no clue on what to do. Have you ever heard of this before? Do you know of anything that could possible help him? Thanks for any help.

Answer:

Hello, thank you for your question. I have dealt with many very complex neck problems of this type. I would need to see him and his films to be sure, but it sounds like he might have a type of Klippel-Feil syndrome, in which people have multiple fused vertebrae, sometimes with partially missing vertebrae. I have treated many such patients. Some can be helped, some can't. The solution is usually surgery, which can be quite extensive, but often makes a huge difference to help such patients. I would need to at least see your husband's films (x-rays, CT, MRI, whatever he's got) in order to tell you more. If you need more information, please send your contact information to netwellness@uc.edu and I will send you back an email. Thanks for your question.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University