Children's Hospital Colorado
Spine Program

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (Ages 10 to 18)

Kids aren’t just mini adults. In fact, they’re incredibly different. That’s why they need incredibly different care.

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What is idiopathic scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine. The curve is often first noticed during growth spurts in adolescence.

Scoliosis can be caused by a variety of conditions including:

  • Genetic syndromes such as osteochondrodystrophy (dwarfism) or neurofibromatosis
  • Neurologic or muscle disorders such as cerebral palsy, spinal cord trauma, muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy or spina bifida
  • Congenital malformations of the spine

Most often, no cause is identified. In these cases, we use the term idiopathic scoliosis.

There are two general categories of idiopathic scoliosis:

Who gets idiopathic scoliosis?

Idiopathic scoliosis affects about 2 to 3 out of 100 adolescents. Most adolescents with scoliosis have small curves that don't require treatment.

Scoliosis affects boys and girls at equal rates. However, compared to boys, girls are 7 to 10 times more likely to have larger curves that require treatment. The reason for this difference in curvature is not known. There is currently no way to prevent idiopathic scoliosis.

Watch this video to learn more about scoliosis and how we treat children who have this spine condition.

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.

Next steps

Get to know our pediatric experts.

Sumeet Garg, MD

Sumeet Garg, MD

Orthopaedic Surgery

Mark Erickson, MD

Mark Erickson, MD

Orthopaedic Surgery

Ryan Ballard, PA

Ryan Ballard, PA

Physician Assistant

Molly Buerk, PA-C, MMS

Molly Buerk, PA-C, MMS

Physician Assistant

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