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What testing is needed for children with a family history of scoliosis?

Children who have a family history of scoliosis have a higher risk of development of scoliosis. Nevertheless every child should be checked for scoliosis during a routing pediatrician exam. Scoliosis usually starts in adolescents but can be seen earlier as well. Make sure that your physician knows about a family history of scoliosis so he or she can test a child. Most curvatures are discovered during a simple doctor's exam (a forward bend test which shows a prominence on one or both sides of the spine). The degree of the prominence can be painlessly measured with a "Scoliometer" in your doctor's office. A curvature over a certain degree on a clinical exam requires a standing x-ray of the whole spine which will further determined if scoliosis indeed exists. The curvature is followed with periodic x-rays to watch for progression of a curvature. The genetic test is used only if children are over age 9 years and have a verified curvature (on x-rays) of more than 10 degrees. Smaller curvatures can be successfully followed by their pediatrician. Large curvatures as well as curvatures which progress should be followed by an orthopedic spine surgeon for evaluation for different treatments (bracing vs surgery).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.