Parents and children give their perspective on scoliosis surgery.

Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curvature and rotation of the spine. About 2 to 3 percent of the U.S. population, or 7 million people, have this condition.

Scoliosis may be detected in infancy, childhood or adolescence. While this condition affects both girls and boys, girls are 10 times more likely than boys to need corrective surgery for it.

The thing to pay attention to is whether or not scoliosis progresses. Curves that are larger have a greater chance of progressing than smaller curves. However, even mild curvatures may worsen as a child’s spine grows.

Progression can lead to severe consequences in adulthood, including lung and heart problems and potential back pain. That’s why it is important to:

  • Detect scoliosis as early as possible
  • Monitor its progress
  • Intervene when necessary

Why Choose Us

  • Cleveland Clinic has been providing comprehensive quality care for pediatric patients with acquired and congenital orthopaedic problems for 32 years.
  • Cleveland Clinic is ranked as one of the nation's top hospitals by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Cleveland Clinic Children's is also consistently rated among the “Best Children’s Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Our orthopaedic specialists are trained to treat conditions specific to children.
  • Same day appointment or next business day access is available.
  • Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital and other centers have pediatric anesthesiologists on staff. They are adept at managing children’s anesthesia, and will provide general anesthesia for spine surgery. Large centers like ours also have a neurological team to monitor spinal cord function minute-by-minute during the entire procedure. After surgery, pediatric anesthesiologists make sure that each child’s pain is well-controlled.


What We Treat

What We Treat

There are three types of childhood scoliosis:

Idiopathic scoliosis
Idiopathic scoliosis represents 80 percent of all cases of scoliosis. It usually develops during adolescence, between the ages of 10 and 16. Idiopathic means “of unknown cause” and scientists have not yet unraveled the reasons that scoliosis develops. But because idiopathic scoliosis runs in families, it has a genetic basis.

Congenital scoliosis
Congenital, or infantile, scoliosis is a fairly rare bone abnormality detected at birth. Very often, it accompanies other birth defects, such as heart or kidney problems.

Neuromuscular scoliosis
Neuromuscular scoliosis is caused by abnormalities in the muscles and nerves that support the spine. Thus, patients with muscular dystrophy, spina bifida and cerebral palsy are susceptible. Neuro­muscular scoliosis can become quite severe.



Multidisciplinary Approach

We bring together a team of highly trained specialists in order to determine the appropriate intervention and treatment plan for your child. Our pediatric scoliosis team includes:

  • Pediatric orthopaedic surgeons
  • Pediatric anesthesiologists
  • Pediatric neurologists
  • Physiatrists
  • Radiologists
  • Physical and Occupational therapists

Your child’s pediatrician is an integral member of our extended team with whom we consult in developing treatment and, when appropriate, ongoing care plans for your child.

Between our pediatric orthopaedic surgeons’ technical expertise and their involvement in ongoing research, we can offer your child the latest, most effective treatments.

Our Staff

Our Staff

Thomas Kuivila, MD
Thomas Kuivila, MD
Vice Chair, Orthopaedic and Rheumatologic Institute
Ryan Goodwin, MD
Ryan Goodwin, MD
Director for the Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Orthopaedics
David Gurd, MD
David Gurd, MD
Head of Pediatric Spinal Deformity Surgery


To make an appointment with any of our scoliosis specialists, please call the phone number provided below. You may also schedule your appointment online.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

  • Locally 216.444.2606
  • Toll-free 800.223.2273 ext 42606

Online Second Opinion

We offer second opinions through Cleveland Clinic MyConsult, an effective and secure option for consultation without the time and expense of travel. One of our experts will review your medical records and test results and provide a comprehensive, personalized report, taking care to answer your specific questions.

Learn more about MyConsult Online Medical Second Opinions.