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Starship Paediatric Spine Service

Public Service, Spinal, Orthopaedics, Paediatrics


The most common condition seen in the Spine Clinic is scoliosis (a lateral/ sideways curvature of the spine). The management of scoliosis is individualised for each child depending on his/her age, amount of curvature, and amount of time remaining for skeletal growth. Children with a spinal disorder are often followed by the Spine Clinic for many years until they stop growing. Scoliosis will require frequent examinations by your child's physician to monitor the curve as your child grows and develops.

The onset of scoliosis is gradual and usually painless, and a significant curvature can develop without the parent or child noticing. Early detection is important to prevent the curve from progressing. Many spine curves do not progress significantly enough to warrant surgical treatment.  Only an orthopaedic surgeon with specialised training in spinal disorders has the experience and knowledge to make that determination.

Scoliosis cannot be cured by exercise, physiotherapy, osteopathy or chiropractics. If left untreated, scoliosis can cause problems with pain, mobility, and in very large curves, even heart and lung function. Be sure to have your child checked by your doctor if you have a family history of scoliosis.

There are many classifications of scoliosis. The most commonly seen curvatures of the spine treated in the Starship Children’s Hospital Scoliosis Clinic are:

  1. Idiopathic scoliosis
  2. Neuromuscular scoliosis
  3. Congenital scoliosis

For more information you may find www.srs.org and www.iscoliosis.com useful sites to visit.

This page was last updated at 11:16AM on June 23, 2021.