Children's Hospital Colorado

Scoliosis Diagnosis

Understanding scoliosis

It can be frightening to learn your child has scoliosis, especially if their spine curvature is severe enough to require surgery. One family shares how they handled the news that their daughter had scoliosis.

Scoliosis overview

Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that measures greater than 10 degrees on an X-ray. The condition is grouped in two general categories based on the age of diagnosis:

Watch this introduction to learn about the signs and symptoms of scoliosis, as well as causes and treatments.

When do you need surgery to treat scoliosis?

Our pediatric spine specialists use a variety of different methods to treat scoliosis, including monitoring, bracing, and when necessary, surgery. Scoliosis surgery can reduce spine curvature significantly, while also improving shoulder imbalance, shoulder blade prominence, rib hump and waist balance.

Our specialists determine whether a child would benefit from scoliosis surgery based on the degree of the child's spine curvature and the amount of growth the child has remaining. Here's a general breakdown of how they assess a child's spine curvature:

Scoliosis curvature and treatment recommendations

1. 0 - 10 degrees

Considered normal

2. 10 –20/25 degrees

Monitoring recommended

3. 20/25 – 40 degrees

Bracing or casting recommended

4. 40 – 50 degrees

Surgery may be recommended

Understanding scoliosis treatment options

Mark Erickson, MD, Medical Director of our Spine Program, explains the different treatment options for scoliosis.

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Find a doctor

Browse and connect with our world-class pediatric spine surgeons in Colorado.

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Scoliosis success stories

From toddlers to teens, our patients come in all ages, and each has their own story to tell.

See their stories
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Our Spine Program

Our spine team performs the most pediatric idiopathic scoliosis procedures in the region.

Discover scoliosis resources

"It's extremely scary going through the beginning, but it's amazing how strong our daughters can be."

Debbie, Jessica's mom


Partnership with the University of Colorado School of Medicine

Children's Hospital Colorado partners with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, where many of our physicians and care providers serve as faculty.