Congenital scoliosis is believed to affect approximately one child for every 1,000 live births.1 The cause is unknown in most cases, but in some cases, it is associated with various syndromes, as shown in the illustration below. Diagnosis occasionally is made during prenatal ultrasound. In cases of congenital scoliosis, additional congenital conditions, such as chest wall malformation or kidney or heart abnormalities, are often present. Treatment options for congenital scoliosis are bracing and/or surgery, and are similar to those discussed for idiopathic scoliosis. Bracing is not as effective for congenital scoliosis as it is for idiopathic scoliosis.
Major abnormal spinal deformity presenting during infancy or early childhood poses a clinical problem because of the anticipated long growth period (at least 10 years), variable presentation and treatment methods, and the length of time that must pass before meaningful outcome results can be assessed in the small number of patients for definitive studies. Curves that result from congenital scoliosis are often not treated as easily as idiopathic curves because the deformity is in the bones rather than the soft tissue, causing the curve to be rigid.2