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Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine such that it looks like a “C” or “S” rather than the normal “I” shape. As a result, one shoulder or hip could appear higher than the other. It can sometimes run in families and can occur at any age. Scoliosis usually doesn’t cause pain. While boys and girls have it equally as often, girls usually have worse cases requiring more treatment. Scoliosis is diagnosed on physical exam and confirmed by X-ray. It is important to diagnose scoliosis and consider possible treatments, because the condition can worsen with age. The spine can begin to rotate, which could potentially affect lung functioning.

If the curve is less than 20 degrees or the child is almost full grown, then the doctor will just continue observing the patient without treatment.

If the child is still growing and has a curve less than 30 degrees, then a brace will be used to stop curvature from getting worse.

If the child is still growing and the curve is greater than 50 degrees, then surgery might be the best option. The procedure involves grafting bone from the hip, ribs or a bone bank. Rods, hooks, wires, or screws may also be used to straighten the spine.

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