Adult Degenerative Scoliosis


Adult Degenerative Scoliosis pic

Adult Degenerative Scoliosis

RaKerry Rahman, MD, serves as a cervical spine and scoliosis surgeon at the Spine and Orthopedic Surgical Institute of Houston, Texas. There, Ra’Kerry Rahman provides surgical treatment for spinal curvatures in both children and adults.

Adult degenerative scoliosis, also known as adult onset scoliosis, occurs due to degeneration of the intervertebral discs and facet joints of the spine. This is a natural consequence of aging but may occur to a greater degree on one side of the spine than on the other. When this happens, the spine develops an abnormal lateral curvature that, when it progresses to 10 degrees or more, is diagnosable as scoliosis.

Scoliosis in adults typically develops in the lower back and co-presents with a sagittal straightening of the spinal column. It is often asymptomatic, though patients may notice stiffness or aching in the middle to lower back. Sharper back pain, numbness, and tingling are common as well and may radiate down into the leg. In some cases, leg pain may occur independently and usually resolves with rest.

Most patients with adult degenerative scoliosis can find relief through physical therapy, bracing, and pain medication. If these interventions fail to adequately control pain and mobility issues, surgery may be necessary.


Global Spine Outreach Treats Patients with Scoliosis around the Globe


Global Spine Outreach pic

Global Spine Outreach

A distinguished cervical spine and scoliosis surgeon, RaKerry (Ra’Kerry) Rahman, MD, practices at the Springfield Clinic in Springfield, Illinois. His experience and skill in spinal surgery, particularly in cases of deformities like scoliosis, has made him one of the leading spinal surgeons in the Midwest. In addition to his practice, Dr. RaKerry Rahman volunteers his time and expertise to Global Spine Outreach, a nonprofit organization that performs free spinal surgery for children with scoliosis and other complex deformities.

Scoliosis is a medical condition characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine. Without proper treatment, severe cases can lead to breathing difficulties, chronic pain, paralysis, and even premature death. The condition affects nearly 200 million people across the globe, 60 million of whom either lack sufficient means for corrective surgery or have no access to it.

Because of these daunting numbers, Global Spine Outreach focuses on long-term education and training for surgeons in countries where they operate. Experts provide hands-on instruction that equips local doctors and surgeons to effectively diagnose spinal conditions, perform the necessary corrective surgeries, and monitor patients during recovery. This collaboration leads to sustainable benefits for current and future patients in need of life-changing, if not life-saving, spinal surgery.

Supporting the Field – The Scoliosis Research Society


Scoliosis Research Society pic

Scoliosis Research Society

A board certified cervical spine and scoliosis surgeon, RaKerry, or Ra’Kerry, Rahman, MD, is currently the clinical assistant professor of spinal surgery at Springfield Clinic, LLP. A committed professional, Dr. RaKerry Rahman is a member of a number of medical organizations, including the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS).

An international society dedicated to the treatment and research of spinal deformities, the Scoliosis Research Society was established in 1966. With membership that has grown from 35 industry professionals to more than 1,000 surgeons, orthotists, researchers, and assistants, the society maintains a commitment to its founding principle of fostering high-quality patient care. In addition to its public awareness campaign to promote June as Scoliosis Awareness Month, the SRS also promotes professional engagement with its variety of fellowships and scholarships, including the Asia-Pacific Spinal Deformity Scholarship Program, among others. It also honors members with the SRS Lifetime Achievement Award.

Open to two surgeons no older than 45 and who reside in the region, the Asia-Pacific Spinal Deformity Scholarship Program takes place over 12 months. Successful candidates are not necessarily SRS members but are qualified to become members, and must have two references from current members. During the program, the surgeons visit and learn in several spinal deformity centers to enhance their skills, education, and clinical research.

The SRS Lifetime Achievement Award is open to all society members, though senior members receive special consideration. The awarded is granted to SRS members who make noteworthy contributions to the field of spinal deformity care. Recipients receive a plaque in recognition of their achievement, and sit for a 30-minute interview with a society historian.

Factors Leading to Myelopathy

Myelopathy is a condition well known to Dr. RaKerry (Ra’Kerry) Rahman, a clinical faculty member at Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine. RaKerry Rahman, MD, also practices as a cervical spine and scoliosis specialist at the prestigious Springfield Clinic.

Also known as “spinal cord compression,” myelopathy is a frequent factor in cervical or neck pain in people 55 and older. The disorder includes such conditions as transverse syndrome, central cord syndrome, and motor system syndrome. Its pain can involve spinal nerves or supportive tissue, in addition to problems with the vertebrae or the facet joints that hold them together.

Myelopathy is often associated with the accumulated stresses of aging. As the spine grows older, its discs dry up or decalcify, leading to a reduction in the space between the facet joints. This degeneration places added pressure on the spine and pushes against the nerve roots and the spinal cord.

Trauma, such as automobile accidents, sports injuries, or falls, also can contribute to myelopathy. In addition to causing fractures and dislocated joints, trauma often damages the tissues that keep the spine in proper position.

Inflammatory illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may result in myelopathy in the upper neck. Infections, tumors, and birth defects are less common contributors.

Supporting the Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine

An award-winning spine surgeon in the Midwest, Ra’Kerry Rahman, MD, currently serves as a cervical spine and scoliosis surgeon at Springfield Clinic, LLP. Outside of the expert care he provides at the office, Dr. RaKerry Rahman also uses his expertise to help various charitable organizations. He has previously volunteered with FOCOS during a complex spinal surgery medical-mission trip to Ghana, and he hopes to travel to other locations in the future.

The Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS) was founded by Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei in 1998 in the hopes of improving the quality of life for people living in Ghana and other countries in Africa. Supported by the contributions of various volunteers and other individuals, along with a fund based in New York City, FOCOS has completed more than 1,100 corrective orthopedic procedures and built a dedicated FOCOS Hospital in Ghana.

There are several ways to support FOCOS and its ongoing mission. One is donating medical equipment or money. Monetary donations can be made online, over the phone, or through mail, while equipment donations are arranged on an individual basis. Individuals can also sponsor a child for surgery. On average, the surgery costs $20,000, and sponsors are able to personally connect with the patients and be involved in their healing process.

For additional hands-on experiences, professionals can volunteer for the various medical trips to Ghana and West Africa that FOCOS hosts every year. Most mission trips are two weeks long, and volunteers can be from a variety of health backgrounds. Finally, attending and supporting the organization’s annual Young Friends of FOCOS (YFF) events and FOCOS Gala helps the organization raise additional funds and spread awareness.

About Posterior Vertebral Column Resection

A board-certified surgeon and member of the Scoliosis Research Society, RaKerry Rahman, MD, focuses on treatment of spinal deformity and conditions of the cervical spine. Dr. Ra’Kerry Rahman also serves as an active lecturer and educator and recently presented an abstract that discussed 5 year outcomes of the procedure known as the posterior vertebral column resection.

Developed for the treatment of severe kyphosis and similar spinal deformities, posterior vertebral column resection incorporates many of the basic elements of the more traditional two-stage spinal column resection procedure. Both procedures require the surgeon to resect the spine in the areas where the deformity is present.

To perform the procedure, the surgeon removes the vertebra or vertebrae in order to perform the resection. The surgeon then stabilizes the apex spine with artificial structures and decompresses the nerves to enable realignment. Two-stage vertebral column resections require the surgeon to enter the area from the front as well as the back, but extremely skilled surgeons may perform the entire procedure with a fully posterior approach.

Pediatric Spinal Deformities: Congenital Kyphosis

Springfield-based medical professional RaKerry (Ra’Kerry) Rahman, MD, serves the Springfield Clinic as a cervical spine and scoliosis surgeon and a clinical assistant professor. Dr. RaKerry Rahman has a special interest in spinal deformities, such as idiopathic scoliosis in adults and adolescents and congenital kyphosis.

Congenital kyphosis occurs in the embryonic phase of life, within the first six to eight weeks. It affects the frontal section of one or more vertebral discs and bodies, causing failure of formation (a Type 1 deformity) or failure of segmentation (a Type 2 deformity). The condition results in a shift that causes the spine to bend forwards sharply. It is not yet understood what causes congenital kyphosis, and there is no known genetic link. In more severe cases of congenital kyphosis, the sharp forward spinal bending puts pressure on the spinal cord, which may in turn cause leg paralysis.

Failure of formation is usually detected following childbirth, identified as a small bump or lump on the child’s spine. Failure of segmentation occurs when two or more vertebrae do not separate to form regular discs. This type of spinal deformity may remain undetected until the child begins to walk.