Is there any treatment?
There are three basic types of treatments for scoliosis: observation, orthopedic bracing, or surgery.
Observation is appropriate for small curves, curves that are at low risk of progression, and those with a natural history that is favorable at the completion of growth. These decisions are based on the expected natural history of a given curve. For example, if your child is diagnosed with a curve of 25 to 40 degrees and has completed growth (i.e., boys older than 17, girls older than 15), then observation is appropriate. Statistically, these curves are at low risk of progression and are not likely to cause problems in adulthood. Follow-up x-ray once per year for several years would then confirm that the curve is not progressing after completion of growth. As an adult, an x-ray every five years, or if there are symptoms, is sufficient.
Orthopedic braces are used to prevent further spinal deformity in children with curve magnitudes within the range of 25 to 40 degrees. If these children already have curvatures of these magnitudes and still have a substantial amount of skeletal growth left, then bracing is a viable option. It is important to note, however, that the intent of bracing is to prevent further deformity – it is not to correct the existing curvature or to make the curve disappear.
Surgery is an option used primarily for severe scoliosis (curves greater than 45 degrees) or for curves that do not respond to bracing. There are two primary goals for surgery: to stop a curve from progressing during adult life and to diminish spinal deformity.