Congenital scoliosis is fairly rare, affecting only 1 in 10,000 newborns, and it results from spinal abnormalities that develop in the womb. During fetal development, malformation of the vertebrae is one of the most common causes for congenital scoliosis. It may also result from partial formation of certain bones or the absence of one or more bones in the spine. Not only can congenital scoliosis lead to a sideways curvature of the spine, it can cause the child to develop additional curves in the opposite direction – the body’s attempt to compensate for the abnormality.
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Because congenital scoliosis is related to spinal defects present at birth, it is typically diagnosed much earlier than other forms of the disease. Symptoms of congenital scoliosis include tilted shoulders, an uneven waistline, a prominence of the ribs on one side, head tilt, and an overall appearance of the body leaning to one side. When symptoms develop, diagnostic tests such as EOS imaging, x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans can be used to confirm the diagnosis.