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Early Onset Scoliosis (Pediatric)

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What is early onset scoliosis?

Early onset scoliosis is a rare spinal curvature that requires special knowledge and experience for doctors to solve its complex issues. There are three types of early onset scoliosis based on age and type of curve. They are:

  • Infantile Idiopathic Scoliosis occurs before the age of 3 and is seen more often in boys than girls. Most cases resolve spontaneously but some may progress to more severe.
  • Juvenile Idiopathic Scoliosis is defined as scoliosis occurring at the ages of 3-9. This condition affects more girls than boys. These curves are generally at high risk for progression to a more severe form.
  • Congenital Scoliosis occurs in a fetus when bony portions of the spine fail to form properly or segments fuse together. While most cases of scoliosis are considered "idiopathic" and occur in childhood without clear causes, a small number of children develop a spinal curvature before birth. The spinal defects can be minor and involve only one segment of the vertebral column, or the condition can involve nearly every level and result in a more severe deformity.

What causes early onset scoliosis?

The cause of infantile scoliosis is unknown, however considerable medical research has led to hypotheses that include intrauterine molding, postnatal positioning, and genetic influences.

Early onset scoliosis is often associated with congenital chest wall deformities, neuromuscular disorders such as cerebral palsy, myelomeningeocele or muscle disease, or spinal pathologies such as tumors.

How is early onset scoliosis diagnosed?

Our doctors perform a close observation, careful neurological exam, spinal MRI, and a series of X-rays to review if other structural problems exist. Other associated problems may dictate further examinations or consultations such as cardiac, pulmonary, or renal function testing.

How is early onset scoliosis treated?

Treatment for the different types of early onset scoliosis may include observation, physical therapy, bracing, casting, and surgery.