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Scoliosis (curvature of the spine to the side) in children and adolescents
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Scoliosis (abnormal lateral curvature of the spine) in Children and Adults


Scoliosis means lateral curvature of the spine.  It may occur at any age during growth.  There are several types of scoliosis, which if left unattended or untreated, it may lead to significant problems during adulthood.  Therefore, parents should be aware of this condition, which is a curable defect.



In many schools, students are examined regularly for scoliosis.  These examinations are usually done in preparatory stages. If you child receives a scoliosis examination referral based on school examination, you should be aware of the following facts:


  • Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine, and makes the vertebral column appears in s-shape or c-shape form and not in a straight form.
  • Scoliosis may cause rotation of spine bones, which makes one of the shoulders, scapula, or hip joint higher than other.
  • Scoliosis may occur at any age during growth years.  The adolescents’ scoliosis of unknown etiology occurs after age of 10.  It is the most common type of scoliosis.  Infantile scoliosis, however, occurs in children of less than 3 years old.  It may result from a congenital defect, nerves and muscles pain (muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy) injury, inflammation or tumor.  Infantile scoliosis is uncommon and may occur between 3 and 10 years old.
  • It causes no pain normally.
  • Small curvatures may occur repeatedly and equally in boys and girls.  The curvature may be worse in girls and must be treated.




  • Diagnosis requires knowing the complete medical history in order to identify if scoliosis is related to other problems.
  • Diagnosis includes a complete physical examination.  The physician will ask the child to bend forward to reveal any existing deformities.  He will examine any difference in length of the limbs, stress of abdominal muscles or any other potential causes.
  • The diagnosis is confirmed by an x-ray to the backbone.  The doctor will measure the degree of curvature as shown in the x-ray.  The type of treatment depends on the type and degree of curvature, child age, number of years of growth until age of skeletal maturity and type of scoliosis.
  • If scoliosis of more than 50 degrees is left untreated, it may cause problems on the long run.  The curvature may increasingly deteriorate, which may lead in some cases to decreased lung capability and obstructive pulmonary disease. Aesthetic elements are particularly important for many patients.
  • Treatment Options
  • Non-Surgical

This option is suitable when the curvature is slight (less than 20 degrees) or when the child is close to skeletal maturity.  The physician will need to re-examine the curvature regularly to know if it is not getting worse.  The physician may request the patient to visit him every three months to six months to repeat the examination.  This treatment of choice is applicable on most of the cases referred by the school.

Support Placement

The purpose of the support is to prevent the curvature from getting worse.  The support may be effective if the child is still growing and the degree of curvature of spine is between 25 degrees and 45 degrees.  There are several types of supports most of which are placed under the arm.  The orthopedist will recommend the suitable support and will determine how long it will be worn each day.  Wearing supports will not affect sports activities as it can be removed during these activities.



If the degree of the curvature is more than 45 and the child is still growing, the physician may recommend a surgery.  If growing has stopped, recommendation for the surgery is still an option for curvatures between 50 – 55 degrees.   The physician may ask the child prior to surgery to donate blood (for use during the surgery if necessary).  The surgery required a bone graft from the hip, ribs or bones.  A series of rods, hooks, pins or wires will be used to correct the spine. The patient will walk after the surgery without support by next day or third day after the surgery.  The patient will be discharged home after two weeks and can resume his daily activities quickly.  Sports activities are possible six to nine months after surgery.


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