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Types of Scoliosis

Scoliosis is one of the more common disorders of the spine. Most people experience few symptoms or problems, but for those with a progressive curvature, these problems can be severe.

If you are an adult living with scoliosis, and need a specialist in successfully treating spinal conditions, you can rely on the expertise of the Southwest Scoliosis Institute to help.

There are several different types of scoliosis. The most common are:

The accomplished orthopedic surgeons at Southwest Scoliosis Institute, Drs. Hostin, Avramis and Kishan, treat all these conditions and have successfully performed more than 4,500 surgeries. If you have been seen by a physician but feel that you need more answers, you have come to the practice that has been successfully performing complex spinal surgeries for over 10 years. We are the experts and one of the only practices in the country that specializes in complex spinal procedures.

“Adult scoliosis generally comes from two different causes, one can be progression of teenage scoliosis or adult degenerative scoliosis. Most of the symptoms people have are back pain, deformity, leg pain or numbness. Generally, we consider surgery for two different reasons, either progression of scoliosis curvature or neurological symptoms. Treating adult scoliosis is about managing the symptoms, if we can control them and you are functioning well, we generally don’t have to progress to a higher level of treatment.”  Dr. Avramis



Congenital scoliosis is a spinal deformity in which a sideways curvature of the spine is caused by a defect present at birth. The spine may also be rotated or twisted, pulling the ribs along with it to form a multidimensional curve.

Congenital scoliosis occurs in only 1 in 10,000 newborns, mostly in boys, and is much less common than idiopathic scoliosis, which usually becomes evident in adolescence.

In congenital scoliosis, the following may occur during the baby’s development in the womb:

  • The bones (vertebrae) in the spine may not form normally
  • One or more bones in the spine may be absent
  • Bones may partially form
  • Bones may not be separated as they should be

In addition to scoliosis curves, a child’s spine may also develop other curves in the opposite direction — above or below the affected area — to compensate and maintain an upright posture. At Southwest Scoliosis Institute, each patient and parent of the patient becomes well informed of the options. The physicians take time to outline all options and every effort is made to take the most conservative route possible.

“I involve my patients and their families in the decision making for their child’s treatment, carefully tailoring the management to their medical & social needs and constraints. I believe in an informed patient and family, treating every child as I would my own.” Dr. Shyam Kishan

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms of congenital scoliosis include:

  • Tilted, uneven shoulders, with one shoulder blade protruding more than the other
  • A rotation of the neck causing the head to tilt in one direction
  • Prominence of the ribs on one side
  • Uneven waistline
  • One hip higher than the other
  • An overall appearance of leaning to the side
  • A problem with the spinal cord or nerves that produces weakness, numbness or a loss of coordination in rare cases

Bracing: the most common nonsurgical treatment

For curves less than 25 degrees, we recommend ongoing monitoring by our orthopedic physicians, Drs. Kishan or Hostin. If they document that the child’s spinal curves are worsening, the doctors may suggest spine bracing. “Bracing reduces the pressure on your child’s lower back and helps straighten your child’s spine. The ultimate treatment goal is to prevent the curve from progressing,” states Dr. Hostin.

For children with curves between 25 and 40 degrees, recommended treatment will depend on your child’s individual circumstances. “Either spine bracing or spinal surgery may be appropriate treatment for your child,” explains Dr. Kishan.

“For curves of 40 degrees or more, we usually recommend spinal surgery to correct the problem before it gets worse,” says Dr Kishan.