top of page
Congenital Scoliosis

January 29, 2024 Staff

Topics - Congenital

Nature, Causes, and Treatment of Congenital Scoliosis

Congenital scoliosis is a type of scoliosis present at birth, resulting from a malformation of the spine during fetal development. Unlike adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, which develops later and has no identifiable cause, congenital scoliosis is caused by an anomaly in the development of the vertebrae. Here are some key aspects:


  • Vertebral Malformations: These can include partially formed vertebrae, fully missing vertebrae (hemivertebra), or vertebrae that are fused together.

  • Uneven Growth: As a child grows, the unequal growth of the malformed and normal vertebrae can lead to a curvature of the spine.


  • Developmental Anomalies: Occurs during the first six weeks of embryonic development. The exact cause is often unknown, but genetic and environmental factors may play a role.

  • Associated Conditions: Sometimes seen in conjunction with other congenital conditions like heart or kidney problems.


  • Early Detection: Congenital scoliosis is often detected at birth or early infancy.

  • Imaging Tests: X-rays, MRI, or CT scans are used to assess the spine's structure.

  • Evaluation of Other Systems: Assessing for associated congenital anomalies in other organ systems.


  • Monitoring: Regular observation to monitor the progression of the curve.

  • Bracing: In some cases, bracing can help manage the curvature.

  • Surgical Intervention: Surgery may be required, especially if the curve is severe or progressing rapidly. The type of surgery varies based on the nature of the vertebral malformation and the age of the child.


  • Variable: Depends on the severity and type of vertebral malformations.

  • Potential for Progression: The spinal curvature can progress as the child grows.

  • Regular Follow-Up: Essential for managing the condition effectively.

Long-Term Outlook

  • Quality of Life: With proper treatment, many children with congenital scoliosis lead active, healthy lives.

  • Ongoing Care: Some children may need ongoing treatment into adulthood, especially if they have had surgery.


  • Impact on Lung Development: Severe curvatures can affect lung development and function.

  • Spinal Cord Issues: In rare cases, malformations may affect the spinal cord.

As with any congenital condition, early diagnosis and treatment are key. A multidisciplinary approach often involving pediatric orthopedists, neurologists, and other specialists is crucial for optimal care and management.

bottom of page