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Scoliosis

If your child has been diagnosed with scoliosis, or a recent screening suggest they may have scoliosis, the orthopedic specialists at Cook Children's are recognized for their excellent care of children with scoliosis and spine care.

What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine. It is commonly detected in preteens a few years before they reach puberty, although it can occur in younger children as well. The orthopedic spine specialists at Cook Childrens monitor and treat thousands of patients with scoliosis each year. They offer a wide variety of treatment options based on the type of scoliosis your child has as well as their specific medical needs.

Straight Spine vs. Scoliosis

What Are the Types of Scoliosis?

Orthopedic specialists (doctors and other providers who treat bone and muscle problems) group scoliosis into types. Knowing the type of scoliosis helps health care providers treat it.

Idiopathic scoliosis. This is the most common type of scoliosis. Kids can get it at any age, but most of the time it happens around puberty when a child goes through a growth spurt. Experts don't know exactly why this type of scoliosis develops, but it runs in some families.

Congenital scoliosis. This type of scoliosis happens when something goes wrong with the way some of the vertebrae developed while a baby was in the womb. The problem might not be noticed until a child goes through a growth spurt, usually around age 2 or between 8 and 13.

Scoliosis caused by a medical condition. Some kids develop scoliosis because they have a long-term medical problem that affects the muscles or skeletal system. For example, kids with muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Marfan syndrome, or osteogenesis imperfecta may get scoliosis. Kids who have had tumors or growths on their spine may also develop scoliosis.

What causes scoliosis?

The cause of scoliosis in healthy children is often unknown. Less commonly, it can be caused by neuromuscular conditions such as cerebral palsy, spinal birth defects, infections or injury to the spine.

How is scoliosis diagnosed?

Children are screened for scoliosis at each annual visit with a pediatrician and sometimes at school. If scoliosis is suspected, often an X-ray of their spine will be ordered. In addition to conventional X-ray machines, Cook Childrens also offers an EOS machine which provides detailed X-ray images of the spinal column with significantly less radiation. Occasionally, an MRI or a CT scan may be recommended. Our team will review the images and measure the degree of curvature in order to confirm the diagnosis scoliosis and discuss appropriate treatment.

Who gets scoliosis?

People of all ages can have scoliosis. The most common type has no known cause and occurs in children age 10 to 12 and in their early teens. Girls are more likely than boys to have this type of scoliosis. A child is more likely to have scoliosis if a parent, brother or sister have it.

What will happen if scoliosis is not treated?

Scoliosis should be diagnosed and treated because if the curvature continues to grow, it can cause significant deformity to a childs body. Untreated scoliosis can also cause reduced lung function, pain, limitations and arthritis later on in life.

How is scoliosis treated?

We're here to help.

If your child has been diagnosed, you probably have lots of questions. We can help. If you would like to schedule an appointment, refer a patient or speak to our staff, please call our offices at 682-885-4405.

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