Children's Hospital Colorado

Early Onset Scoliosis (Ages 0-9)

What is early onset scoliosis (EOS)?

Early onset scoliosis is scoliosis diagnosed before the age of 10. The difference between early onset and adolescent scoliosis (ages 10-18) is that children with early onset scoliosis still have substantial growth of the chest and spine remaining. For children with early onset scoliosis, treatment focuses on both controlling the progression of spinal deformity while also allowing the spine and chest to grow.

Who gets early onset scoliosis?

Early onset scoliosis occurs equally in boys and girls. Early onset scoliosis occurs more commonly in children with neuromuscular disorders and specific underlying syndromes than the general population.

Types of scoliosis

There are several subcategories of early onset scoliosis that are commonly recognized, including:

  • Idiopathic scoliosis
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis
  • Syndromic scoliosis
  • Congenital scoliosis
  • Scoliosis associated with tumors, infection, prior surgery or trauma

Idiopathic early onset scoliosis

Idiopathic early onset scoliosis is scoliosis that occurs without an identifiable cause. It is by far the most common type of early onset scoliosis.

  • About 80 to 90% of infants with early onset scoliosis will not require treatment to stabilize their spine curvature. The curvature naturally straightens out with normal growth.
  • A small number of infants and toddlers will unfortunately have progressive idiopathic scoliosis, which means their spinal curve will continue or worsen as they grow.
  • In almost all cases, a provider will perform an MRI of the spine to confirm that there is no underlying issue causing the scoliosis.

Congenital scoliosis

Congenital scoliosis occurs when a child's vertebrae (small bones forming the spine) do not develop properly. It is usually diagnosed before the age of 10 and is a common cause of early onset scoliosis. Doctors will recommend different treatments and prognoses based on the underlying congenital malformation (abnormality) of the spine and chest for patients with spinal deformities. Fortunately, many of these patients never get worse or need surgery.

Syndromic scoliosis

Syndromic scoliosis is associated with specific underlying syndromes and genetic conditions. Examples of syndromes that can be associated with early onset scoliosis include:

Neuromuscular scoliosis

Neuromuscular scoliosis is due to conditions that primarily affect the muscular and/or nervous system.

Examples include:

Vea este video en nuestro canal de YouTube para obtener más información sobre la escoliosis y cómo tratamos a los niños que padecen de esta afección de la columna.

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