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Paediatric scoliosis

Juvenile scoliosis

A side-to-side curve that may take the shape of an abnormal ‘S’ (double curve) or a long ‘C’ (single curve)


Scoliosis can develop at any age but is most common in children aged 10-15. In the UK, around three or four in every 1,000 children need treatment for scoliosis. In children under 10 boys get more severe curves, whilst girls get more severe curves over the age of 10. Girls are three times more likely to require surgery than boys.

Learn more about our Children and Adolescent's Scoliosis Service

Find out more about scoliosis and how we can treat it using MAGEC® growing-rods to reduce the number of surgeries required.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of paediatric scoliosis icon plus

    Symptoms of paediatric scoliosis includes:

    • the upper body leaning to one side or the head being slightly off centre
    • the level of the shoulders being uneven, or one shoulder blade protruding
    • the ribcage not being symmetrical and sticking out on one side
    • uneven leg length or one hip more prominent from the main frame of the body
    • clothes being consistently ill-fitting in one area around the body frame
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your child's consultant will undertake a physical examination, looking at posture, the spine, rib placement, hips and shoulder position. To confirm scoliosis, they will need to undergo an X-ray. This will help to determine the shape, direction and angle of the curve and the region of the spine that is affected. In an X-ray viewed from the front or back, a normal spine will appear almost straight, while a spine with scoliosis will curve to the side in an ‘S’ or ‘C’ shape, tending to affect the thoracic (middle) or lumbar (low back) regions.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    In children or adolescents mild curves will not usually result in surgery as the curve can correct itself as they grow or remain relatively small and balanced. Your child's consultant will arrange follow-up consultations to observe and monitor the curve of the spine. In some cases additional X-rays may be required. If scoliosis is present and the bones are still growing, a brace or growing rod may be recommended to prevent further curvature. If surgery such as vertebral body tethering is required, our physiotherapists are involved in the pre-operative assessment. This helps your child prepare and understand what they will need to do afterwards.

Types of paediatric scoliosis

Chiari malformation

This is where the lower part of the brain pushes down into the spinal canal.


When a fluid-filled cavity called a syrinx develops in the spinal cord.

Spina bifida

When a baby's spine and spinal cord don't develop properly in the womb, causing a gap in the spine.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • The Portland Hospital

    The Portland Hospital

    205 - 209 Great Portland Street


    W1W 5AH

    Childrens enquiries 020 3811 4906
    Maternity enquiries 020 3131 5998
    Women's health 020 3811 5137

  • Institute of Sport Exercise and Health Facility

    Institute of Sport Exercise and Health

    170 Tottenham Court Road


    W1T 7HA

    Call 020 3447 2800
    [Mon | Weds | Fri] 8am - 6pm
    [Tues | Thurs] 8am - 8pm

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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