Idiopathic Scoliosis

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What is idiopathic scoliosis?

Idiopathic scoliosis is one of three different types of scoliosis that causes a lateral curvature of the spine. “Idiopathic,” which means that there is no definite cause, is the most common type of scoliosis. It tends to run in families, and girls are eight times more likely than boys to develop the condition.

There are different degrees of severity, but in many cases, idiopathic scoliosis requires no intervention. Curves can vary in size but tend to be mild; however, they can worsen rapidly during a child’s growth spurt.

Although idiopathic scoliosis can occur at any age, it is most frequently seen in pre-adolescent and adolescent girls. The three types of idiopathic scoliosis include:

  • infantile idiopathic scoliosis: diagnosed in children between birth and 3 years of age, accounting for fewer than 1 percent of all pediatric cases
  • juvenile idiopathic scoliosis: diagnosed in children between 3 to 9 years of age accounting for 12 to 20 percent of all pediatric cases
  • adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: diagnosed in children between 10 and approximately 18 years of age, accounting for approximately 80 percent of all cases

Meet Chloe

How we care for idiopathic scoliosis

The dedicated Spinal Program team at Boston Children’s Hospital focuses specifically on the pediatric spine. We treat idiopathic scoliosis and other spinal conditions — from the most common to the most complex.

We are known for our science-driven, experience-based approach and participated in the landmark Bracing in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Trial (BrAIST), focused on the effectiveness of brace treatment versus more invasive treatments for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Download the patient and family guide to scoliosis

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Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337

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