Early-onset scoliosis: A review of history, current treatment, and future directions

Scott Yang, Lindsay M. Andras, Gregory J. Redding, David L. Skaggs

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Early-onset scoliosis (EOS) is defined as curvature of the spine in children >10° with onset before age 10 years. Young children with EOS are at risk for impaired pulmonary function because of the high risk of progressive spinal deformity and thoracic constraints during a critical time of lung development. The treatment of EOS is very challenging because the population is inhomogeneous, often medically complex, and often needs multiple surgeries. In the past, early spinal fusion was performed in children with severe progressive EOS, which corrected scoliosis but limited spine and thoracic growth and resulted in poor pulmonary outcomes. The current goal in treatment of EOS is to maximize growth of the spine and thorax by controlling the spinal deformity, with the aim of promoting normal lung development and pulmonary function. Bracing and casting may improve on the natural history of progression of spinal deformity and are often used to delay surgical intervention or in some cases obviate surgery. Recent advances in surgical implants and techniques have led to the development of growth-friendly implants, which have replaced early spine fusion as the surgical treatment of choice. Treatment with growthfriendly implants usually requires multiple surgeries and is associated with frequent complications. However, growth-friendly spine surgery has been shown to correct spinal deformity while allowing growth of the spine and subsequently lung growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20150709
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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