Although scoliosis can occur at any age, it most frequently develops in children. Scoliosis occurring in patients 10-18 years old is called Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. The term “idiopathic” means the cause is unknown.
Scoliosis that occurs or is diagnosed in adulthood is a different condition, because the causes and treatment goals are different.
When the spine is viewed from the back, patients with scoliosis have a spinal curvature that looks like a “C” (one curve) or an “S” (two curves) when viewed on an x-ray.
Scoliosis may be identified by a healthcare professional through a complete history followed by a thorough physical examination in which they will examine the spine and look for any signs of scoliosis.
X-rays may be taken in order to evaluate any tilt or rotation of the vertebrae causing a curvature. X-rays allow the healthcare professional to confirm the diagnosis, monitor the degree and severity of the curve, and to assess the patient’s skeletal maturity.
The treatment of scoliosis must take into account the severity and location of the curve and the age and state of physical maturity of the patient. Treatment options range from observation, bracing and casting to surgery.
In most cases of adult scoliosis, non-operative treatment is preferred. This can include periodic observation, over-the-counter pain relievers and exercise.
Surgical treatment is reserved for moderate to severe curves. The goals of surgical treatment are to correct the curve and prevent progression.
The material on this website is intended to be an educational resource only and is not meant to be a warranty or to replace a conversation between a patient and their physician or member of their health care team. Please consult a physician for a complete list of indications, contraindications, precautions, warnings, clinical results and other important medical information that pertains to this procedure. The decision to receive medical treatment is individualized to the patient and the patient’s symptoms. The information presented on this site may not apply to your condition, treatment or its outcome, as surgical techniques vary and complications can occur. It is important to discuss the viability of any surgical procedure with a physician to decide the right treatment option.