Update on the management of idiopathic scoliosis

Curr Opin Pediatr. 2009 Feb;21(1):55-64. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e328320a929.


Purpose of review: Idiopathic scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine greater than 10 degrees for which there is no known cause. This paper reviews the current literature on the appropriate evaluation and treatment of patients with idiopathic scoliosis.

Recent findings: Improved technology and surgical techniques are allowing improved curve correction and improved quality of life for these patients. Specifically, the pedicle screw construct can provide excellent curve correction and stabilization for spinal deformities.

Summary: Idiopathic scoliosis is a diagnosis of exclusion and the approach to a patient with scoliosis should aim toward ruling out other possible causes. In those patients with scoliosis necessitating treatment, bracing should be the first line of treatment and these patients should be followed up closely to track curve progression. Patients who fail conservative management may undergo spinal fusion with pedicle screw instrumentation. Vigilant monitoring and thorough evaluation of scoliosis patients can steer patients toward appropriate management in a judicious manner preventing the significant medical morbidity and deformity that scoliosis can insidiously inflict.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Braces
  • Casts, Surgical
  • Causality
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Orthopedic Procedures / instrumentation
  • Orthopedic Procedures / methods
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Radiography
  • Scoliosis / diagnosis
  • Scoliosis / epidemiology
  • Scoliosis / surgery*
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging
  • Spine / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome