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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)


This is scoliosis which occurs between the ages of 10 to 18 and is commoner in girls by 2:1. In most cases of Adolescent scoliosis the cause is unknown and this is called idiopathic adolescent scoliosis. The majority of patients are healthy and have no other medical problems. Scoliosis can run in families.

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.


More about Scoliosis in adults

More about Scoliosis in children

Need to know

  • Symptoms of paediatric scoliosis icon plus

    On the whole adolescent scoliosis does not usually present with pain or neurological symptoms. In most cases the curve of the spine is not big enough to affect the hear or lungs and therefore shortness of breath is not seen in adolescent scoliosis. Other symptoms include:

    • rib cage sticking out on one side especially at the back
    • your hip or waist sticking out
    • shift of the trunk to one side
    • Obvious curvature of the back
    • 1 shoulder appears higher than the other
  • Screening and Diagnosis icon plus

    Diagnosis of scoliosis is made through clinical examination and standing x-rays of the front and side of your spine. These x-rays are often done with a lead shield to protect you from radiation. Your consultant will measure the x-rays to estimate the size of your curve. This is measured in degrees and is described as a Cobb Angle.

    A straight spine has a curve of 0º, any curve greater than 10º is considered scoliosis. In order to help with decision making regarding treatment; flexibility x-rays are taken as well. If surgery is being considered an MRI is requested to assess the spinal cord and surrounding nerves. If any neurologic abnormalities are identified your consultant may ask you to see a neurosurgeon before you start your treatment.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis can be treated in 3 different ways - (observation, bracing and surgery), and is based on the risk of the curve getting worse. In general, adolescent scoliosis curves get worse during growth spurts, and in adulthood if the curves are still relatively large after skeletal maturity.
  • What happens? icon plus

    Observation is generally for growing patients whose curves are less than 25º, or for curves less than 50º in patients who have finished growing.

    Bracing is for patients with curves that measure between 25º and 40º whilst they are still growing. The aim of the brace is to stop the curve from getting bigger. This is done by correcting the curve while the patient is in the brace. There are different types of braces and you would need to discuss these with your consultant.

    Surgical treatment is used for patients whose curves are greater than 45º while still growing or greater than 50 º when growth has stopped. The goal of surgical treatment is two-fold: Firstly, to prevent the curve from getting worse and secondly to improve the shape of the spine.

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

    Children's enquiries 020 7390 8020
    Maternity enquiries 020 7390 6068
    Gynaecology enquiries 020 7390 6200

  • 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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