Infantile developmental thoracolumbar kyphosis with segmental subluxation of the spine: report of five patients and review of the literature

Bone Joint J. 2015 Jul;97-B(7):982-7. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.97B7.35665.


Acute angulation at the thoracolumbar junction with segmental subluxation of the spine occurring at the level above an anteriorly hypoplastic vertebra in otherwise normal children is a rare condition described as infantile developmental thoracolumbar kyphosis. Three patient series with total of 18 children have been reported in the literature. We report five children who presented with thoracolumbar kyphosis and discuss the treatment algorithm. We reviewed the medical records and spinal imaging at initial clinical presentation and at minimum two-year follow-up. The mean age at presentation was eight months (two to 12). All five children had L2 anterior vertebral body hypoplasia. The kyphosis improved spontaneously in three children kept under monitoring. In contrast, the deformity was progressive in two patients who were treated with bracing. The kyphosis and segmental subluxation corrected at latest follow-up (mean age 52 months; 48 to 60) in all patients with near complete reconstitution of the anomalous vertebra. The deformity and radiological imaging on a young child can cause anxiety to both parents and treating physicians. Diagnostic workup and treatment algorithm in the management of infantile developmental thoracolumbar kyphosis is proposed. Observation is indicated for non-progressive kyphosis and bracing if there is evidence of kyphosis and segmental subluxation deterioration beyond walking age. Surgical stabilisation of the spine can be reserved for severe progressive deformities unresponsive to conservative treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Bone Diseases, Developmental / complications*
  • Bone Diseases, Developmental / therapy
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Joint Dislocations / etiology*
  • Joint Dislocations / therapy
  • Kyphosis / complications*
  • Kyphosis / therapy
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Male
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / injuries*