What Is Idiopathic Scoliosis?

What is idiopathic scoliosis?

Idiopathic scoliosis is an abnormal condition characterized by a lateral curvature of the spine.

It is the most common type of scoliosis that affects an estimated 2 to 3 percent of children in the U. S.

But it usually occurs in adolescents aged 10 to 18 years old and is more common among females than males, thus it is also called adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).

Signs and symptoms

The most common symptoms of idiopathic scoliosis are:

  • Difference in shoulder height
  • Head is not centered with the rest of the body
  • Difference in hip height or position
  • Difference in shoulder blade height or position
  • Tilted pelvis
  • A difference in the way the arms hang beside the body when standing straight
  • The sides of the back differ in height when bending forward
  • Clothing does not hang straight


The term “idiopathic” means that the cause of this condition is unknow.

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis probably results from following related factors:

  • Genetic factor
  • Environmental factor
  • Hormonal problems
  • Abnormal bone or muscle growth
  • Nervous system abnormalities


Treatment is usually determined on a case-by-case basis, generally including:

Non-surgical scoliosis intervention

  • Ongoing monitoring
  • Braces
  • Scoliosis exercises, or Schroth method

Surgical intervention

  • Spinal fusion
  • Growing rods
  • Vertebral body tethering
  • VEPTR (Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Ribs)

Please make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the most effective treatment options for your child with scoliosis.

Keywords: adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; idiopathic scoliosis

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