FAQs / What is Idiopathic Scoliosis?

  • Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that makes the spine look more like an “S” or “C” than a straight “I”.
  • Scoliosis can cause the bones of the spine to turn (rotate) so that one shoulder, scapula (shoulder blade), or hip appears higher than the other.
  • The term “idiopathic” means that the cause of this disorder is not known (in most cases).

Natural History

If left untreated, curves exceeding 50° can lead to problems in the long term. Progressive deterioration of the scoliotic curve can occur, which in some patients can lead to diminished lung capacity and the development of restrictive lung disease. Cosmetic concerns are significant to many patients. The incidence of back pain among patients with scoliosis is similar to that of the general population.

Surgical Treatment

If the curve is more than 45° and the child is still growing, the doctor may recommend surgery. If the patient has reached skeletal maturity, surgery may still be recommended for scoliotic curves that…