Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The doctor will initially take a detailed medical history and may ask questions about recent growth. During the physical exam, your doctor may have your child stand and then bend forward from the waist, with arms hanging loosely, to see if one side of the rib cage is more prominent than the other.

Your doctor may also perform a neurological exam to check for:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • Abnormal reflexes

Imaging tests

Plain X-rays can confirm the diagnosis of scoliosis and reveal the severity of the spinal curvature. If a doctor suspects that an underlying condition — such as a tumor — is causing the scoliosis, he or she may recommend additional imaging tests, including:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce very detailed images of bones and soft tissues.
  • Computerized tomography (CT). CT scans combine X-rays taken from many different directions to produce more-detailed images than do plain X-rays.
  • Bone scan. Bone scans involve the injection of a radioactive material, which travels to the parts of your bones that are injured or healing.
Feb. 03, 2012

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