What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve over time. It also can cause the bones in the spine to rotate, which makes one shoulder or hip look like it’s higher than the other one.
Who is at risk for scoliosis?
Scoliosis can occur at any age. There are three main types of scoliosis, classified by when the condition appears:
- Infantile scoliosis appears in children younger than 3. It may result from a birth defect, diseases of the muscles and nerves (such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy), infections, or tumors.
- Juvenile scoliosis appears in children who are 3 to 10 years old.
- Adolescent scoliosis, the most common type, appears in people older than 10. Most cases of adolescent scoliosis have an unknown cause, which doctors call idiopathic.
Children can inherit a risk for scoliosis from their parents. This means if one member of a family has or had scoliosis, there’s a risk other family members will have it as well. If your doctor diagnoses one growing child in your family with scoliosis, all the other growing children in your family should be examined for it.
Treatment options for scoliosis
Most cases of scoliosis are minor and don’t need treatment. If your child has a minor case of scoliosis, a pediatric orthopedic specialist will monitor the spinal curve to make sure it doesn’t get worse.
If the curve does get worse, your child’s doctor may recommend a spinal brace. Bracing can be effective if the child is still growing and has a spinal curve of less than 40 degrees. Our specialists can fit your child with a brace and provide instructions on how to use it.
Severe scoliosis may require spine surgery.
Spine surgery for scoliosis
Scoliosis surgery involves the use of a bone graft and a series of rods, hooks, screws, and wires to straighten and support the spine.
Our spine surgeons generally consider several factors before recommending surgery, including:
- The child’s age
- The degree of spinal curvature
- Whether the child is still growing