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from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Diseases & Conditions



Staying Healthy

Scoliosis: Frequently Asked Questions

Scoliosis is a common condition that affects many children and adolescents. Simply defined, scoliosis is a sideways curve of the spine. Instead of a straight line down the middle of the back, a spine with scoliosis curves, sometimes looking like the letter "C" or "S."

Illustrations of a normal spine and a spine with scoliosis

(Left) Normal spine anatomy.  (Right) Scoliosis can make the spine look more like the letter "C" or "S".

Children with scoliosis and their parents have a lot of questions about the condition. In this series of four articles, orthopaedic surgeons from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Scoliosis Research Society answer some of the questions they most commonly hear from patients and their parents.

These four articles include:

Introduction to Scoliosis

This article provides answers to questions parents and their children often have when first diagnosed with scoliosis. Information about causes, screenings, and current research is also included in this article.

Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Scoliosis

This article answers common questions about treatment options, including bracing and alternative methods.

Surgical Treatment for Scoliosis

This article answers common questions about the surgical procedure, as well as questions about recovery.

Scoliosis Surgery: Things to Consider

This article provides answers to common questions about the cost, risks and complications of surgery, and addresses concerns teenagers may have about how they will look after surgery.

OrthoKids logo

Learn more about this topic at POSNA's OrthoKids website:

Early Onset Scoliosis

Information on this topic is also available as an OrthoInfo Basics PDF Handout.

For more information:

Basics Handouts

Last Reviewed

August 2020

AAOS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians referenced herein. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, or locate one in your area through the AAOS Find an Orthopaedist program on this website.