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Congenital Scoliosis: Etiology and Associations

Hensinger, Robert N. MD

doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181abf69e
Deformity

Study Design. Literature review.

Objective. To provide a current overview of congenital scoliosis and associated conditions.

Summary of Background Data. The etiology of congenital scoliosis is unknown. A variety of factors have been implicated in the development of vertebral abnormalities. These factors provide clues to the origin of congenital scoliosis.

Methods. A search of PubMed, using the keywords congenital scoliosis, etiology, and genetics was performed.

Results. Environmental factors, genetics, vitamin deficiency, chemicals, and drugs, singly or in combination, have all been implicated in the development of vertebral abnormalities. Whatever the cause, the physiologic injury occurs early in the embryologic period, well before the development of cartilage and bone. The resulting defects can lead to full or partial fusion or lack of development of the vertebrae, which, in turn, can cause a curvature that, may be progressive during the growth of the child.

Conclusion. The origin of congenital scoliosis may be environmental, genetic, or a combination of factors. Research on these various factors continues. Early identification and management of concomitant defects can improve the patient’s quality of life.

The etiology of congenital scoliosis remains unknown. Several environmental factors that are known to cause vertebral malformations provide clues to its origin. There are many syndromes associated with congenital scoliosis; some features are not readily apparent. Early identification and management of concomitant defects can improve the patient’s quality of life.

From the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Pediatric Orthopaedic Service, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).

No funds were received in support of this work. No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Robert N. Hensinger, MD, William S. Smith Collegiate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The University of Michigan, 1500 E. Medical Center Dr., TC 2912, Ann Arbor, MI 48109; E-mail: rnh@med.umich.edu

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.