Early onset scoliosis (EOS) is a complex and heterogeneous group of disorders in children under 5 years of age. The actual prevalence is unknown since it involves a spectrum of conditions from infantile resolving scoliosis to severe progressive deformity.

Photos courtesy of Richard M. Schwend, M.D., FAAP

This 15-month-old boy (left) by age 6 years had progressed to a 90-degree left scoliosis that diminished his thoracic volume and pulmonary function.

A subset of children with EOS may have what Robert Campbell, M.D., FAAP, termed thoracic insufficiency syndrome (TIS), the inability of the thorax to support normal lung function (J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2003;85-A(3):399-408). Pediatricians may be the first to detect a child with a deformity or may be asked to assist in perioperative management due to the presence of multiple comorbidities. Although the prevalence of EOS is lower than for adolescent or juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, mortality is...

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