Scoliosis: Frequently Asked Questions

Scoliosis is a common condition that affects many children and adolescents. Simply defined, scoliosis is a sideways curve of the spine. Instead of a straight line down the middle of the back, a spine with scoliosis curves, sometimes looking like a letter “C” or “S.”

(Left) Normal spine anatomy. (Right) Scoliosis can make the spine look more like the letters “C” or “S”.

Children with scoliosis and their parents have a lot of questions about the condition. In this series of four articles, orthopaedic surgeons from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Scoliosis Research Society answer some of the questions they most commonly hear from patients and their parents.

These four articles include:

Introduction to Scoliosis

This article provides answers to questions parents and their children often have when first diagnosed with scoliosis. Information about causes, screenings, and current research is also included in this section.

Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Scoliosis

This article answers common questions about treatment options, including bracing and alternative methods.

Surgical Treatment for Scoliosis

This article answers common questions about the surgical procedure, as well as questions about recovery.

Scoliosis Surgery: Things to Consider

This article provides answers to common questions about cost, risks and complications, as well as concerns teenagers have about how they will look after surgery.

Last reviewed: August 2015

Reviewed by members of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America and the Scoliosis Research Society

The Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) is a group of board eligible/board certified orthopaedic surgeons who have specialized training in the care of children’s musculoskeletal health. One of our goals is to continue to be the authoritative source for patients and families on children’s orthopaedic conditions. Our Public Education and Media Relations Committee works with the AAOS to develop, review, and update the pediatric topics within OrthoInfo, so we ensure that patients, families and other healthcare professionals have the latest information and practice guidelines at the click of a link.

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