Scoliosis is an abnormal, side-to-side curve of the spine. The condition is often referred to based on the age of your child when the scoliosis is diagnosed:

  • Early onset scoliosis includes:
    • Congenital scoliosis – diagnosed at birth or shortly after birth
    • Infantile idiopathic scoliosis – diagnosed under age 5
    • Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis – diagnosed between ages 6 and 9
  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) – diagnosed at age 10 and older

In kids with scoliosis the spine does not grow straight. It curves and twists. Spinal curves typically grow in an “S” or “C” shape. They can range from mild to severe.

A spinal curve is measured in degrees.

  • Mild: Less than 20 degrees
  • Moderate: Between 25 degrees and 40 degrees
  • Severe: More than 50 degrees

Early Onset Scoliosis

Early onset scoliosis tends to affect boys more often than girls.

It is important to identify a curve in the spine early on If treatment is needed, it can begin as early as possible. If treatment is not needed right away, your doctor will have a record of the curve. They can watch for changes as your child grows.

We make the decision to begin treatment based on each child. As a child grows, the curve can get worse, sometimes quickly. That is why starting treatment quickly is sometimes needed. Your child may have fewer problems later when treatment is started early. A doctor may wait to start treatment if the curve is mild. Mild curves often do not need to be treated.