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Scoliosis in Children


Scoliosis is an abnormal curving of the spine. Scoliosis can develop at any age in children, but often starts during adolescence.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Emotional support:

Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.


Your child may need medicine to take away or decrease pain. Watch for signs of pain in your child. Tell healthcare providers if his pain continues or gets worse so they know he needs more pain medicine. To prevent falls, stay with your child to help him get out of bed.


  • EKG: This test records the electrical activity of your child's heart. This may be done to see if your child's heart is affected by the scoliosis.
  • Echocardiogram: This uses sound waves to show pictures of the size and shape of your child's heart. It can also show how well the heart is pumping and how well blood flows through it.
  • X-rays: Healthcare providers use these pictures to check the curve and shape of your child's spine. They may show if there are other conditions, such as broken, incomplete, or fused bones. They may also show if your child is still growing.
  • CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your child's spine. Your child may be given dye before the pictures are taken to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
  • MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your child's spine. Your child may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not let your child enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has any metal in or on his body.
  • Pulmonary function tests: These tests can help healthcare providers learn how well your child's lungs work. Your child will breathe into a machine to measure how much air he breathes in and out over a certain amount of time.
  • Sleep studies: These may be done to see if the scoliosis affects your child's sleep. The test will also monitor his heart and breathing while he sleeps.


Your child may need surgery if the curve is severe and a brace has not helped. Healthcare providers may place rods, screws, or wires to help straighten the spine.


Treatments for scoliosis, such as a back brace, may be very uncomfortable for your child. Your child may bleed more than expected during surgery. He may also get an infection or have an injury to his spinal cord. If left untreated, the curve of his spine may get worse. This may decrease the space in your child's chest for his heart and lungs to work correctly. His spinal cord and nerves may get pressed on and lead to problems or changes in organ function.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Scoliosis in Children (Inpatient Care)

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Further information

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