Depending on the severity of your scoliosis, your doctor may recommend observation, bracing, or surgery.


If the spinal curve is mild (less than 25 degrees) and has low risk for progression, scoliosis may not require active treatment. The doctor will monitor the curve through regular check-ups to watch for progression.

Observation is also an appropriate treatment if your child is diagnosed with moderate scoliosis (25-to 40-degree curve) and has finished growing (typically age 17 for boys and age 15 for girls). At this point, a moderate curve is considered unlikely to progress or cause problems in adulthood. Doctors often recommend follow-up x-rays every five years to confirm that the curve stays stable.


Bracing is an option for patients with mild to moderate spinal curves who are still growing. A back brace is a device customized to conform to your body that keeps your spine in a straight, secure position. The goal of bracing is to keep your curve from progressing. Wearing a brace won’t correct the curve, but it can prevent the curve from getting worse as you grow. You will typically wear a brace until you doctor has determined that you are finished growing.


Severe scoliosis curves greater than 40 degrees may require corrective surgery. Spinal fusion realigns the curved vertebrae and fuses them together. There are two primary benefits of a successful scoliosis surgery:

  1. Stops a curve from progressing
  2. Reduces rib prominence and diminishes spinal deformity

The surgeon may use one of two primary approaches: the posterior approach or the anterior approach. In some cases, the surgeon may use a combination of the two.


The anterior approach means the surgeon will access the spinal column from the side of the chest wall, rather than through the back. Certain types of scoliosis curves are especially amenable to the anterior approach.


In a posterior approach operation, the surgeon accesses the spine through the patient’s back. The posterior approach is the most traditional approach to spinal surgery. Most scoliosis surgeries are performed this way.