Neuromuscular Scoliosis Testing & Diagnosis

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Contact the Spinal Program

  • 617-355-6021
  • International: +1-617-355-5209
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At Boston Children's Hospital, we know that the first step in treating your child is forming an accurate and complete diagnosis.

Doctors will use medical and family histories, physical exams and diagnostic tests to determine the nature, extent and effects of your child’s scoliosis and underlying neuromuscular disease. Your Children’s multi-disciplinary care team will evaluate his:

   •   nutritional status
   •   lung and heart function
   •   functional level
   •   joints and extremities (for contractures) 
   •   balance and ambulatory (walking) level

X-rays and other tests

X-rays (front and side) are the main diagnostic tools for confirming the presence of scoliosis, as well as the severity of the curve. To evaluate the underlying condition associated with the scoliosis, additional tests can include:

   •   magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
   •   computerized tomography scan (CT or CAT scan)
   •   blood tests
   •   ultrasound (sonogram)
   •   bone scans
   •   bone density scans (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, DEXA, DXA)
   •   muscle biopsy
   •   pulmonary function tests 
   •   Electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction studies

Doctors can often predict the likely progression of your child’s curves by assessing the magnitude of his existing curve(s), as well as his physiologic and skeletal growth levels.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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