Infantile idiopathic scoliosis. Causative factors, particularly in the first six months of life

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1975 May;57(2):138-41.


An attempt has been made to determine the aetiological factors in infantile idiopathic scoliosis from a clinical, genetic and epidemiological survey of 134 infants, ninety-seven of whom developed a curve in the first six months of life. Plagiocephaly was present in all cases; mental retardation occurred in 13 per cent of males with progressive scoliosis; congenital dislocation of the hip occurred in 3-5 per cent of cases and congenital heart disease in 2-5 per cent; and inguinal hernia was found in 7-4 per cent of males. Approximately 3 per cent of parents and 3 per cent of sibs had the same deformity, thirty times the general population frequency for the Edinburgh area. Other positive findings included an excess of breech presentations and of premature, low birthweight males, and a preponderance of curves developing in the winter months. Infants with progressive scoliosis tended to have older mothers and to come from poorer families. Only three children all with resolving scoliosis, habitually lay prone in early infancy, in marked contrast to North American infants where this posture is usual. The almost complete absence of infantile idiopathic scoliosis in North America is noted and it is thought that the two facts may be related. The aetiology is likely to be multifactorial, with a genetic tendency to the deformity which is either "triggered off" or prevented by external factors.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / complications
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care / methods*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intellectual Disability / complications
  • Male
  • North America
  • Posture*
  • Pregnancy
  • Scoliosis / complications
  • Scoliosis / congenital
  • Scoliosis / etiology*
  • Skull / abnormalities*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spine / growth & development*
  • United Kingdom