Boston Othotics and Prosthetics

Scoliosis

What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a musculoskeletal disorder in which there is a sideways (lateral) curvature of the spine.

Who gets scoliosis?

There are many forms of scoliosis. The most common type (accounting for 80-85% of cases) is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, which occurs after the age of 10, and predominantly affects girls. People of all ages can have scoliosis, but the focus of treatment is on children and adolescents. Of every 1,000 children, 3 to 5 develop spinal curves that are considered large enough to need treatment.

What is the treatment process for scoliosis?

Scoliosis is often noticed by a parent, family member or through a school screening process. From there, referral to an orthopedic spine specialist should take place. The doctor will suggest the best treatment for each patient based on the patient's age, how much more he or she is likely to grow, the degree and pattern of the curve, and the type of scoliosis. A simple x-ray can provide much of this information. From the x-ray, angles can be calculated to determine the exact degree of the curve(s). This is called the Cobb angle. The doctor may recommend observation, bracing, or surgery. Learn more.

Are there different kinds of scoliosis?

Yes. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, which is usually diagnosed after the age of 10, is by far the most common type. Other types include infantile idiopathic scoliosis, which occurs in children younger than 3; juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, which occurs in children between the ages of 3 and 10; and neuromuscular scoliosis, which can occur at any age but is a result of another muscular condition, such as cerebral palsy. Learn more.