Idiopathic Scoliosis

Abstract

Scoliosis is abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine. Some of the vertebrae in a scoliotic spine also may show some degree of rotation, which results in asymmetry about the shoulder, waist, and rib cage. Scoliosis affects approximately 2% of the population, and, in most cases, is idiopathic, meaning that it has an unknown cause. Scoliosis is primarily a childhood disease, but it can also occur in adults. In children, idiopathic scoliosis usually develops in middle or late childhood, before puberty. This article reviews the various etiologies and diagnostic tests for scoliosis. Treatment options, which are based on an understanding of the natural history of the disease, are discussed. Extensive consideration is also given to complications of spinal surgery, particularly neural injury and infection.

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