Pediatric Scoliosis: Causes, Types and Treatment Options

Pediatric Scoliosis Surgery in IndiaWhat is Pediatric Scoliosis?

Pediatric scoliosis is a condition in which the child’s spine is abnormally curved, or rotated, sideways. This curving can be mild to severe and restricts movement of the child to a large extent as well as affecting the posture of the child.

What are the types of Pediatric Scoliosis?

There are different types of pediatric scoliosis, such as:

Non-structural scoliosis

This type of scoliosis is not caused by a deformity in the spine but is a result of a separate medical condition that makes it curve abnormally. Non-structural scoliosis is usually a temporary condition and can be corrected by treating the underlying medical condition which is causing the curvature of the spine. Leg-length discrepancy, inflammatory conditions and muscle spasms are usually known to cause non-structural type of pediatric scoliosis.

Structural scoliosis

This type of scoliosis is the direct result of a structural discrepancy of the spinal column. It can be caused by an unknown factor, medical condition or a disease.

Structural scoliosis is further categorized into different types depending on the cause of the spinal deformity. These are:

Idiopathic scoliosis

Most of the time the cause for this type of scoliosis is unknown but it is still the most common type of scoliosis. Idiopathic scoliosis is more prevalent in girls than in boys. Medical research suspects that idiopathic scoliosis is caused due to certain genetic factors.

Congenital scoliosis

This type of scoliosis is seen in the child before birth and s caused due to abnormal bone development in the womb.

Neuromuscular scoliosis

This type of scoliosis is caused by a variety of medical conditions that affect the muscles and nerves, such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, achondroplasia, neurofibromatosis, spina bifida or Marfan syndrome.

Degenerative scoliosis

This type of scoliosis is identified as being caused due to an illness, injury, prior major back surgery, spinal disc degeneration, spine tumors or osteoporosis. Degenerative scoliosis is rarely seen in children.

Early onset scoliosis

This is the type of scoliosis that is seen to affect children below the age of 5 years and is more prevalent in boys as compared to girls.

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What are the causes of Pediatric Scoliosis?

These are the known causes for the various types of pediatric scoliosis:

  • Limb length discrepancy
  • Inflammatory medical conditions
  • Muscular spasms
  • Hereditary factors
  • Congenital bone deformity
  • Spinal injury/fracture
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Spina bifida
  • Mafran syndrome
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Achondroplasia
  • Spinal tumors
  • Spinal disc degeneration
  • Osteoporosis

How is Pediatric Scoliosis diagnosed?

The diagnosis for pediatric scoliosis usually begins with the doctor checking for hereditary factor in the medical history to see if there have been scoliosis cases in the family previously.

The doctor will also check for birth defects and injuries that may have been caused after birth to the spine region.

A complete physical examination is followed by checking the child’s skin, feet, legs, pelvis, chest and back. The doctor will also check to see if the child’s shoulders are in level, if the head is centered, etc for asymmetry in the body.

The doctor will also check whether the limb lengths are equal as well as check for strained abdominal muscles that can cause the spine to curve abnormally.

What are the treatment methods for Pediatric Scoliosis?

The doctor will suggest the best method of treatment of the child’s scoliosis depending on the type of scoliosis, degree of the curvature in the spine, prior familial cases of scoliosis, age as well as the skeletal strength of the child.

The doctor may suggest non-surgical treatment method for treatment of a mild form of scoliosis such a customized brace to prevent the scoliosis from getting worse.

In case of severe deformation of the spine and painful symptoms the doctor will suggest a surgical method to correct the deformity as soon as possible. Surgery for treatment of scoliosis usually involves making small holes in the vertebras to attach tiny screws or hooks to them. These hooks or screws are then attached to a small and straight rod to straighten the curved spine.

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