Intervention versus Observation in Mild Idiopathic Scoliosis in Skeletally Immature Patients

The Open Orthopaedics Journal 31 December 2020 REVIEW ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874325002014010186



Observation is the treatment of choice for idiopathic scoliosis with Cobb angles between 15 degrees - 20 degrees in growing children. This passive approach does not address the anxiety of the patient and the stress of the parents. In this paper, we attempt to identify skeletally immature patients with mild scoliosis curvatures that are more at risk of progression and propose possible intervention for this group of subjects.


The literature was searched in Pubmed, and additional references were searched manually in the literature.


Many studies have shown that low serum 25[OH]D level, bone mineral density (BMD), and body mass index (BMI) are related to the curve severity or progression of the curve.

We suggest that skeletally immature patients (< Risser 2) with mild curves be divided into two groups, viz. Group O (observation) with a lower risk of progression, and Group I (intervention) with a higher risk of curvature progression. We propose early intervention for the latter group.

It is suggested that pre-menarcheal, skeletally immature patients with mild idiopathic scoliosis, and low vitamin D, BMD, and BMI should be treated. Also, asymmetric foot biomechanics should be addressed, although nutrition and foot orthoses are regarded to have no role in the management of idiopathic scoliosis. The outcome of early intervention may be utterly different from late treatment when the curvature becomes more structural, and the patient more skeletally mature.


Research is required to prove if the intervention is clinically indicated.

Keywords: Scoliosis, Foot orthosis, Exercise therapy, Observation, Spine, Early intervention.
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