Idiopathic infantile (early onset) scoliosis generally occurs in children under the age of four.
Physical exams, X-rays, CT scans, MRIs or a combination of these tests are used to diagnosis early-onset scoliosis. A small child will often need to be sedated or receive general anesthesia to keep still enough to get the best images to make a diagnosis.
- Observation: This is typically the first type of treatment used in early onset scoliosis. During this phase, our doctors will use periodic X-rays, CT scans and MRIs to monitor how quickly the curvature progresses. The doctor might also order bending radiographs to test the curve’s flexibility.
- Casting and bracing: Depending on the child’s age and the curve’s flexibility, casting or bracing might be used for early onset scoliosis if the spine curvature is progressing. Casting is used on smaller children, with the hope of slowing the curve’s progression until the child can move on to a brace. The brace is used for the same purpose: to slow the curve’s progression until surgery is done to permanently correct the curve.
- Surgery: This is a last resort in the treatment approach. Learn about our advanced surgical options.