Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)
Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)
An International Organization Dedicated to the Education, Research and Treatment of Spinal Deformity
Our Mission is to Foster Optimal Care for All Patients with Spinal Deformities
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Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

Physical Findings

There are many visible symptoms associated with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Depending on the curve pattern and the size or magnitude of the curve, scoliosis may be barely seen or it may have significant visible symptoms. One of the most common is shoulder height asymmetry, in which one shoulder appears higher than the other (see figure 1). A shift of the body to the right or the left can occur especially when there is an single curve in the thoracic (chest-part) or the lumbar (lower back) of the spine without a second curve to help balance the patient. This is often seen as some waistline asymmetry in which one hip appears to be higher than the other and may result in one leg appearing taller than the other (see figure 2). A prominence on the back or a rib hump secondary to the rotational aspect of the scoliosis is the most visible sign of scoliosis (see figure 3).

Patients with AIS generally have a normal appearance when viewed from the side. In general, there are no neurologic abnormalities such as weakness or changes in a patients feeling in the upper or lower extremities (see figure 4).

One shoulder appears higher than the other Waistline asymmetry and body shifted to the right A prominence on the back Normal appearance when viewed from the side
Figure 1: One shoulder appears higher than the other Figure 2: Waistline asymmetry and body shifted to the right Figure 3: A prominence on the back Figure 4: Normal appearance when viewed from the side