Sideways (lateral) curving of the spine (the backbone). The degree of scoliosis may range from mild to severe. Scoliosis is often an incidental and harmless finding. People with mild curves may only need to visit the doctor periodically for observation. Persons with more severe scoliosis may require treatment — bracing, casting or surgical correction. Of every 1,000 children, 3 to 5 develop spinal curves that are considered severe enough to need treatment. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis ("idiopathic" means "of unknown cause") is the most common type and appears after the age of 10. Girls are more likely than boys to have this type of scoliosis. Scoliosis can run in families so that a child who has a parent, brother, or sister with idiopathic scoliosis should be checked regularly for this condition. Kyphosis is a related but distinct condition. It is an outward curvature of the spine which results in a humped back.
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Abnormal lateral and rotational curvature of the vertebral column. Depending on the etiology, there may be one curve, or primary and secondary compensatory curves; s. may be “fixed” as a result of muscle and/or bone deformity or “mobile” as a result of unequal muscle contraction. [G. skoliosis, a crookedness]
- coxitic s. s. in the lumbar spine resulting from tilting of the pelvis in the presence of hip disease.
- empyemic s. s. due to retraction of one side of the chest following an empyema.
- habit s. s. supposedly due to habitual standing or sitting in an improper position.
- myopathic s. lateral curvature due to weakness of the spinal muscles, as in poliomyelitis.
- ocular s., ophthalmic s. s. supposed to be due to head tilting, caused by ophthalmological dysfunction.
- paralytic s. lateral curvature of the spine due to paralysis of spinal muscles.
- rachitic s. s. occurring as a result of rickets.
- sciatic s. s. caused by asymmetric spasm of spinal muscles usually associated with sciatica, usually presenting as a list toward one side.
- static s. lateral curvature of the spine due to inequality in length of the legs.

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sco·li·o·sis .skō-lē-'ō-səs n, pl -o·ses -.sēz a lateral curvature of the spine compare KYPHOSIS, LORDOSIS
sco·li·ot·ic -'ät-ik adj

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lateral (sideways) deviation of the backbone, caused by congenital or acquired abnormalities of the vertebrae, muscles, and nerves. Treatment may require spinal braces and, in cases of severe deformity, surgical correction by fusion or osteotomy. See also kyphosis, kyphoscoliosis.

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sco·li·o·sis (sko″le-oґsis) [Gr. skoliōsis curvation] an appreciable lateral deviation in the normally straight vertical line of the spine. Cf. kyphosis and lordosis. scoliotic adj

Severe thoracic scoliosis (posteroanterior projection).

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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  • scoliosis — [skō΄lē ō′sis, skä΄lē ō′sis] n. [ModL < Gr skoliōsis, crookedness < skolios, crooked, akin to SCOLEX] lateral curvature of the spine scoliotic [skō΄lēät′ik, skäl΄ēät′ik] adj …   English World dictionary

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