Scoliosis Program

(757) 668-6550

As part of CHKD's spine program, CHKD offers a multidisciplinary approach to treating children and adolescents diagnosed with scoliosis.

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine greater than 10 degrees and occurs in about 2.5 percent of the general population. It can occur at any age. However the common form of scoliosis is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).

CHKD’s orthopedic surgery practice and neurosurgery practice collaborate on cases involving AIS and other spinal deformities to address the interdependency between the nerves and spinal cord and the vertebrae bones of the spine.

While scoliosis is defined as a curvature of the spine in the coronal plane, the condition is three-dimensional and CHKD’s treatment protocols provide a comprehensive corrective approach.

How is it Corrected?

In cases of moderate severity, bracing is the most common treatment. CHKD surgeons employ several types of braces as well as full-time and night-time bracing. The location of the scoliosis curve as well as the skeletal maturity helps determine the most effective bracing program.

Physical therapy (see below for more information) is also utilized at CHKD to improve body mechanics and to help with mechanical pain often associated with scoliosis. While exercise programs have not been shown to affect the progression of scoliosis, they remain a part of the overall program in the treatment of scoliosis. Our therapists have special training in exercises designed for patients with idiopathic scoliosis.

When is Surgery Needed?

Patients with thoracic curves greater than 50 degrees and thorocolumbar curves greater than 40 degrees are candidates for surgical correction. Untreated deformities often continue to progress throughout life and can result in significant cosmetic deformity as well as pain or even cardiopulmonary compromise.

Our surgeons use titanium and cobalt chrome implants during surgery to correct deformities. Bone fusion over the levels of the implants provides permanent correction.

Typical recovery time for idiopathic scoliosis corrections includes a five-day hospitalization, one month with limited activity and return to school, and six months of protection from vigorous stress to the spine.

CHKD’s scoliosis program is designed to provide treatment and correction for all levels of AIS and provide personalized treatment plans using the most current techniques.

The CHKD team works closely with families toward desired outcomes to remove physical discomfort; improve symmetrical physical appearance and emotional well-being; and prevent future physical complications. 

Our Locations
(757) 668-6550

Scoliosis: A Primer

Twist of Fate

CHKD surgeons  Dr. H. Sheldon St. Clair and  Dr. John Birknes helped correct McKenzie Dunford's scoliosis.

Read More

Did You Know?

  • There is a 25 percent chance a mother with scoliosis will have a child with scoliosis.

  • Girls develop scoliosis 10 times more often than boys.

  • Scoliosis can accelerate during puberty.