Children's Hospital Colorado

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (Ages 10-18)

What is idiopathic scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that measures greater than 10 degrees on an X-ray. It's often first noticed during growth spurts in adolescence.

Scoliosis can be caused by a variety of things 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

Most often, no cause is identified. In these cases, we use the term idiopathic scoliosis. There are two general categories of idiopathic scoliosis:

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.

Who gets idiopathic scoliosis?

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis occurs in approximately one to three out of 100 adolescents. Most adolescents with scoliosis have small curves that don't require any treatment. Scoliosis affects boys and girls equally. However, girls are seven to 10 times more likely to have larger curves that require treatment than boys for reasons that are not known. There is currently no way to prevent idiopathic scoliosis.

The Connection Journey
Growing through spine surgery

Jessica and her parents share their spine surgery experience with Emily and her dad as they prepare for her upcoming scoliosis surgery. They help answer questions, shed light and offer hope – from diagnosis to surgery to recovery.

Watch their stories

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