Scoliosis—Child

Definition

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine, or backbone. Instead of a straight vertical line from the neck to the buttocks, the spine has a C- or S-shape.Types of scoliosis include:
  • Structural—curvature with spinal deformity:
    • Congenital
    • Syndromic
    • Idiopathic
  • Functional—curvature without spinal deformity
Scoliosis may also be described as infantile, juvenile, or adolescent based on the child's age at onset.
Scoliosis
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Causes

The different types of scoliosis have different causes.Structural scoliosis—classified by the cause of the vertebral body defect:
  • Congenital—defect occurs during fetal development
  • Syndromic—defect occurs as a result of an underlying health condition that affects the nerves, muscles, or bones in the back and spine
  • Idiopathic—defect occurs without a specific cause, but is likely due to a combination of multiple genetic factors
Functional scoliosis may be caused by:
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Differing leg lengths
  • Conditions that cause muscles to remain tense and spasm
In some cases, scoliosis may be caused by damage to the vertebral body from:
  • Injury
  • Infection
  • Tumors

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your child's risk of developing syndromic scoliosis include having conditions that affect muscles and nerves, such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy . Idiopathic scoliosis is more common during the rapid growth phase of adolescence. Family history of scoliosis may also increase your child's chance of developing scoliosis.Girls are more likely to have more severe curves. Scoliosis severity may also be influenced by:
  • Delayed puberty in boys and girls
  • Delayed first period in girls

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