Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves abnormally from side to side (S-shaped or C-shaped) rather than being straight. The spine may also be twisted, or rotated.

Scoliosis usually starts during childhood, most commonly in girls between the ages of 10 and 16. In most cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown. This is called idiopathic scoliosis.

Most cases of scoliosis are mild, in which case the person's curvature is examined every 4 to 6 months. Severe cases of scoliosis may require bracing or surgery. Bracing is usually successful in stopping the curve from getting worse, but it does not correct or straighten the spine. Surgery can provide some permanent correction.

Last Updated: August 27, 2009

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Thomas S. Renshaw, MD - Orthopedics

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