A healthy spine has a natural curve when viewed from the side, and appears straight when viewed from the back. Scoliosis is a muscular disorder in which the spine curves to the left or right when viewed from the back. At Children’s Health Andrews Institute Spine Center, expert pediatric spine specialists diagnose and treat all types of scoliosis -- from mild to severe -- and offer the most advanced treatment options.
Types of Scoliosis
There are three main types of scoliosis:
- Idiopathic scoliosis: Approximately 80 percent of scoliosis cases are idiopathic, making it the most common type. Idiopathic means that doctors can’t pinpoint the cause of the spinal curvature. It is further classified by the age at which it occurs.
- Infantile scoliosis (also known as early onset scoliosis): This type of scoliosis develops in children, mostly boys, under age 3.
- Juvenile scoliosis: More common in girls, this kind of scoliosis occurs between the ages of 3 and 10.
- Adolescent scoliosis: This type of scoliosis makes up the majority of idiopathic cases. It’s most common in girls between the ages of 11 and 17.
- Congenital scoliosis: Congenital scoliosis is present at birth and happens when the vertebrae fail to develop properly in utero. This type of scoliosis is rare and is often accompanied by other health issues related to the heart, kidney or bladder.
- Neuromuscular: In neuromuscular-related scoliosis, the curve in the spine is caused by a neuromuscular condition such as spina bifida, muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. These conditions affect the child’s neurological system or muscular system—or both. Learn more about neuromuscular scoliosis.
Children with scoliosis sometimes experience lower back pain or discomfort but most commonly, the symptoms are seen in the physical appearance of your child. They include:
- Shoulders appear uneven
- One hip is higher than the other
- Waist looks uneven
- Rib cage is more prominent on one side
- Pelvis is tilted
At Children’s Health Andrews Institute Spine Center our pediatric spine specialists perform a comprehensive evaluation to diagnose your child’s condition and create a personalized treatment plan. Our expert evaluation may include:
- A medical history
- A physical exam
- An x-ray or CT scan taken by a pediatric radiologist
Treatment options depend on the age of the patient, the location and severity of the curve, and if there are additional health issues or conditions. We consider surgery only when absolutely necessary. Our pediatric orthopedic surgeons use the most advanced treatment options to ensure that your child can return to playing sports, and other activities, as soon as possible.
Learn more about diagnosis and treatment.