Orthopedic surgeon, former head of orthopedic and pediatric surgery
Saint Joseph Hospital – Paris

Idiopathic scoliosis appears during growth and persists throughout life. It must be detected as early as possible in childhood.

Scoliosis is a 3-D deformation, not completely reducible, and evolving during growth.
It is called « idiopathic » because it appears without any detectable cause in the state of our current knowledge. The « idiopathic » scoliosis is not a simple lateral inclination of the spine; It is a deformation in the 3 planes of space (3-D), In the manner of a spiral staircase.

It is a structural deformation, incompletely reducible, whatever the position of the body, standing or lying down.

It occurs during childhood , at a variable age, in 2 to 4% of the population and 7 times more often in the girl than in the boy. She is 10 times more likely to have an antecedent in the family.

It accounts for 70% of all scoliosis.                                                              

Vertebral rotation typical of idiopathic scoliosis - Michel Guillaumat - Understanding scoliosis - Fondation Yves Cotrel - Institut de France

Idiopathic scoliosis should be distinguished from « secondary » scoliosis to a known disease occurring in a more general or known disease (neurological, neuro-muscular, malformative, dystrophic, genetic, etc.). The two forms, however, have in common the morphological deformation.
« Idiopathic » scoliosis should be distinguished from simple purely postural, labile, perfectly reducible scoliosis, especially in decubitus, which may be related to a slight inequality in the length of the lower limbs, a hip anomaly, but usually a simple Wrong way to stand, very common in adolescents.

Scoliosis patterns - Michel Guillaumat - Yves Cotrel-Institut de France Foundation
Finally, idiopathic scoliosis is not the consequence of bad habits (satchel too heavy, bad posture, asymmetric sport, overweight, …) but well a disease of the spine completely .

Adams test - scoliosis screening - Michel Guillaumat - Yves Cotrel-Institut de France Foundation
Radio scoliosis idiopathic - Yves Cotrel-Institut de France Foundation - Michel Guillaumat - scoliosis

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