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A ‘normal’ spine has three natural curves that produce an ‘S’ shape when viewed from the side. These curves help to evenly distribute our body weight and absorb the normal stress we place on our spine every day.

In some instances, however, the spinal curvature may become exaggerated and round forward, creating the appearance of a hump back. This condition is known as kyphosis.

The condition, depending on the severity, can be managed or treated.

Learn if you are a candidate for this treatment.

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Kyphosis is an abnormal, forward rounding of the spine and can develop for a myriad of reasons including:

  • spinal fractures
  • osteoporosis
  • disc degeneration
  • birth defects

Kyphosis can occur in both moderate and severe situations with the latter most often experiencing pain and fatigue if symptoms progress. In extreme situations, patients with Kyphosis may also experience numbness and weakness from spinal compression or shortness of breath due to cardiac limitations.


Normal thoracic curvature ranges from 20° to 40°, and if curvature grows larger than that a kyphosis is present. Kyphosis correction surgery is recommended for patients whose curvatures continue to progress or cause symptoms despite non-operative treatments. Corrective surgery is usually recommended when curves are larger than 80° or 90° when measured on x-rays.

Kyphosis can extend into the mid or lower back and in those cases, surgery is recommended for curves larger than 60° to 70° of kyphosis. Surgery is also an option for patients with disabling back pain or when kyphosis leads to compression of the spinal cord or nerves.


The goal of spinal reconstruction surgery is to decrease the patient’s pain and to place the spine in a more natural position. This is accomplished using minimally invasive robot-guided spine surgery which allows our surgeons to precisely create and plan a blueprint for surgery before stepping foot in the operating room.

Kyphosis correction surgery involves the implantation of rods and screws that correct the spinal deformity and stabilize the spine in its new position while the spine fuses, or joins, together. These bones ultimately heal into one solid piece for spinal stability and prevention of further curve progression.

Learn if you are a candidate for this treatment.

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This patient is a 64-year-old man with severe progressive kyphosis. He lost the ability to stand erect and to hold his head upright to look forward while walking. He suffered from severe neck, thoracic and low back pain even when taking heavy doses of pain medicine.

The patient underwent staged spinal reconstruction with kyphosis correction with Dr. Good at the Virginia Spine Institute and has noted significant improvement in his pain after surgery. He is now able to stand up straight and look forward while walking. X-rays taken before surgery show >100° kyphosis from the neck down to the low back and x-rays after surgery show normal spinal alignment.

See kyphosis surgery before and after photos below.

“This Patient's Condition Was Very Severe And The Surgery Performed Is Not Common; However, His Story Serves As An Inspiring Example Of The Power Of Spinal Deformity Surgery To Help Someone Who Is Suffering From Terrible Pain And Disability.” - Dr. Good

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