Thora-Columbar Kyphosis in children with Achondroplasia is a very common occurrence. Kyphosis is an outward curvature of the spine. There seems to be very little research available as to the exact cause, but it is assumed to be due to the size of the head and poor muscle tone associated with Achondroplasia. There was no exact percentage of children with Achondroplasia who have the condition that I could find, although it is assumed to be very high.
Kyphosis usually self corrects when the child starts walking, and can turn into Lordosis (an inward curvature) later in childhood. To check the state of the Kyphosis, a baby is placed on their belly. If his or her back straightens out easily, the Kyphosis is flexible and does not need treatment. If the back stays arched outwards and does not easily flatten, he or she may require treatment. Treatment can include having the baby or toddler wear a back brace.
On our first day home from the hospital with our son, Benjamin, we received a call from Angie, our genetic counselor, who is also our geneticist’s right-hand woman, at A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital. They told us that the most important thing for us to worry about with Benjamin this early on was his spine. Protect the spine, is what we were told. She told us all the things we could do to help keep his Kyphosis flexible and prevent him from needing other treatments later on. When we held him, we had to place one hand under his back where it curved out and push it in gently. He was not to be placed in anything like bouncers, swings, or exersaucers unless the area supporting his back was firm, or could be modified to be firmer. We had already bought most of these things before he was born. Thankfully, his crib already had a firm mattress. We bought a separate firm mattress insert for his pack-and-play. We had to modify his baby swing, both car seats, and his highchair to have firm backs as well. We made what we already had work. At his last appointment with his geneticist, his back was looking really good.
Now that Benjamin is 9 months old, he wants to be upright all of the time. We have noticed the Kyphosis seems more obvious. Hopefully, he will be walking soon and it will continue to self correct. If it does not, from what we have heard so far, we know we are in great hands with Dr. MacKenzie at A.I. Dupont Children’s Hospital. We have yet to meet him ourselves, but will soon, on Benjamin’s first birthday! We are looking forward to it and also looking forward to learning even more about Kyphosis and other orthopedic-related issues we may have to be concerned with later down the road.
I am not a doctor or specialist in this field. All information in this post was from what little I could find online, combined with the information we have received up to this point regarding Kyphosis in children with Achondroplasia. I will update this post as needed. Please feel free to comment with any other information you have or if any of my facts appear to be off. Thanks so much!