Fifty women (mean age 69 +/- 5 years) with biopsy-proven osteoporosis and back pain were radiographically studied for scoliosis, kyphosis, and compression fractures. Twenty-four (48%) osteoporotics had at least 10 degrees of structural scoliosis. Curves were indistinguishable from those of idiopathic scoliosis. Lumbar and thoracolumbar curves were most common. The kyphosis averaged 70 degrees +/- 17 degrees and spanned 9.8 +/- 1.75 vertebrae. Forty-seven patients had 140 compression fractures. Fractures occurred within, but were usually not the cause of, scoliotic curves. Scoliosis in elderly women is a clinical marker and may be a risk factor for osteoporosis and compression fractures. Adult scoliotic patients should be evaluated for osteoporosis with iliac bone biopsies and aggressively treated.