In this section
The most common spinal deformity is scoliosis. Scoliosis
involves a sideways curvature and twist to the spine. It can
have many causes but the most common form is the one seen in early
adolescent females (males can also have scoliosis, but less
frequently). Diagnosis is made most often by physical
examination. Bending forward will usually exaggerate the
curvature in the spine. Growth plays a major role in the
development and progression of scoliosis. Those most at risk
of progression are children with scoliosis who have not yet had
their adolescent growth spurt.
Non-operative treatment is indicated for those who are at risk
of progression of scoliosis. Often this will involve the use
of a brace to prevent progression.
Spinal deformity surgery is complex, demanding, and involves
significant risks. Despite this, significant improvements to
the shape of the spine can be made.
Referrals to the spine unit are facilitated by up to date full
length (36 inch cassette) standing x-rays. X-rays that are
taken lying down supine or prone are subject to more bending by the
patient and can result in the appearance of a curve that is not
structural, or alternatively can minimize the real size of a