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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:45 pm
Scoliosis (sko-lee-OH-sis) is an abnormal curvature of the spine that's most evident when a child is standing or walking. The problem may first be noted during a screening program at school. With scoliosis, the ribs on one side appear to be higher than those on the other, although it requires an X-ray to accurately diagnose. It's more common in adolescent girls than boys, but some boys get it, as well. It's not certain what causes scoliosis, but it most often occurs around puberty (PEW-ber-tee), when kids are rapidly growing. It may also occur in children with cerebral palsy who have a tilt in the pelvis that isn't corrected. If the spine curves less than 25 degrees, the scoliosis may be remedied by exercises to correct the child's posture. Curvature of 25 to 40 degrees may require a back brace. More than that may require surgery to decrease the size of the curve or fuse the spine. Other possible surgery may involve inserting steel rods to hold the spine straight. After surgery, a child usually returns to normal activities after 12 months.

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