Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. While scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, the cause of most scoliosis is unknown.
Most cases of scoliosis are mild, but some children develop spine deformities that continue to get more severe as they grow. Severe scoliosis can be disabling. An especially severe spinal curve can reduce the amount of space within the chest, making it difficult for the lungs to function properly.
Children who have mild scoliosis are monitored closely, usually with X-rays, to see if the curve is getting worse. In many cases, no treatment is necessary. Some children will need to wear a brace to stop the curve from worsening. Others may need surgery to keep the scoliosis from worsening and to straighten severe cases of scoliosis.
Scoliosis care at Mayo Clinic
March 08, 2016
- Questions and answers about scoliosis in children and adolescents. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scoliosis. Accessed Feb. 2, 2016.
- Introduction to scoliosis. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00633. Accessed Feb. 2, 2016.
- Kliegman RM, et al. The spine. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 2, 2016.
- Scherl SA. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: Clinical features, evaluation and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 2, 2016.
- Scherl SA. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: Management and prognosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 2, 2016.
- Shaughnessy WJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 20, 2016.
- Shands AR. End result of the treatment of idiopathic scoliosis. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 1941;23:963.
- Brown AY. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 8, 2016.