adolescent scoliosis

Lateral spinal curvature that appears before the onset of puberty and before skeletal maturity.

angle of trunk inclination (ATI)

With the trunk flexed to the horizontal, the angle between the horizontal and the plane across the back at the greatest elevation of a rib prominence or lumbar prominence, as measured by an inclinometer (scoliometer).

apical disc

In a curve, the disc most deviated laterally from the vertical axis of the patient that passes through the sacrum, i.e. from the central sacral line.

apical vertebra

In a curve, the vertebra most deviated laterally from the vertical axis that passes through the patient's sacrum, i.e. from the central sacral line.

autologous blood

Blood collected from a person for later transfusion to the same person. This technique is often used prior to elective surgery if blood loss is expected to occur. This may avoid the use of bank blood from unknown donors and significantly reduces the risk of acquiring transmitted.


The practice and technique of transfusing previously drawn autologous blood to the same patient.



bone age

A radiographic technique for assessing how mature a patient is based upon a radiograph taken of their hand.

bone graft

Human bone, which is harvested from one location in an individual and placed in another individual (allograft bone) or in a different location in the same individual (autogenous bone). A common place to take autogenous bone graft from is the anterior and posterior iliac crests (the hip bones).



café-au-lait spots

Light brown or black irregular areas of skin pigmentation with smooth margins. If 6 or more are 1.5 cm or more in diameter, neurofibromatosis is suggested.

cervical spine

That portion of the vertebral column contained in the neck, consisting of seven cervical vertebrae between the skull and the rib cage.

compensatory curve

In spinal deformity, a secondary curve located above or below the structural curvature, which develops in order to maintain normal body alignment.

congenital kyphosis

Kyphosis due to congenitally anomalous vertebral development.




As it refers to scoliosis, this is the loss of spinal balance when the thoracic cage is not centered over the pelvis.

developmental kyphosis

Hyperkyphosis classified as either postural or structural in origin.

digital skeletal age

A radiographic technique for assessing bone age based on a radiograph of the hand. Also known as Sanders Score.


Removal of all or part of an intervertebral disc (the soft tissue that acts as a shock absorber between the vertebral bodies).

double curve

Two lateral curvatures (scoliosis) in the same spine. Double major curve describes a scoliosis in which there are two structural curves which are usually of equal size.

double thoracic curve

Describes a scoliosis with a structural upper thoracic curve, as well as a larger, more deforming lower thoracic curve, and a relatively nonstructural lumbar curve.



early onset scoliosis

Scoliosis with onset prior to 10 years of age regardless of its cause.




The uniting of two or more bony segments.




A localized kyphosis.

growing rods

Traditional growing rods are a form of growth friendly surgery that require periodic surgeries to lengthen the rods in order to allow for growth of the spine. These are typically spine-based with anchors on the spine, as opposed to the ribs.

growth friendly surgery

A term used for surgical treatments for early onset scoliosis that are designed to prevent scoliosis progression, while maintaining spine growth.

growth modulation

Surgeries which allow for correction of scoliosis over time by affecting the growth of the spine.




A congenital anomaly of the spine caused by incomplete development of one side of a vertebra resulting in a wedge shape.


A kyphosis greater than the normal range.


A kyphosis of the thoracic spine less than the normal range.


A lordosis greater than the normal range.


A lordosis of the cervical or lumbar spine less than the normal range.

hysterical scoliosis

A deformity of the spine that develops as a manifestation of a conversion reaction.



idiopathic scoliosis

A structural spinal curvature for which cause has not been established.


An instrument used to measure the angle of thoracic prominence, referred to as angle of trunk rotation (ATR) (see also: scoliometer).

infantile scoliosis

A curvature of the spine that develops before three years of age.



juvenile scoliosis

Scoliosis developing between the ages of three and ten years.




A structural scoliosis associated with increased roundback.


A posterior convex angulation of the spine as evaluated on a side view of the spine. Contrast to lordosis.




An anterior angulation of the spine in the sagittal plane. Contrast to kyphosis.


A lateral curvature of the spine associated with increased swayback.

lumbar curve

A spinal curvature whose apex is between the first and fourth lumbar vertebrae (also known as lumbar scoliosis).


Pertaining to the lumbar and sacral regions of the back.

lumbosacral curve

A lateral curvature with its apex at the fifth lumbar vertebra or below (also known as lumbosacral scoliosis).



magnetic controlled growing rods

These are a form of growth friendly surgery that require periodic lengthening in clinic with an external magnet to lengthen the rods in order to allow for growth of the spine. These may be either spine-based or rib-based with anchors on the spine or the ribs.

mehta casting

A form of non-surgical treatment for early onset scoliosis. It consists of the application of a cast in the operating room in order to prevent progression of scoliosis. It requires regular cast changes every few months. In select cases, it may cure scoliosis. In other cases, it may delay the requirement for growth friendly surgery.

major curve

Any curve that does not have the largest Cobb measurement on upright long cassette coronal x-ray of the spine.



neuromuscular scoliosis

A form of scoliosis caused by a neurologic disorder of the central nervous system or muscle.

nonstructural curve

Description of a spinal curvature or scoliosis that does not have fixed residual deformity.




The surgical removal of a wedge or piece of vertebral bone to alter the alignment of the spine; may also be used in previously fused vertebrae to enable the surgeon to move them.




Bony process projecting backward from the body of a vertebra, which connects with the lamina on either side.

pelvic inclination

Deviation of the pelvic outlet from the vertical in the sagittal plane. Measured as an angle between the line from the top of the sacrum to the top of the pubis, and a horizontal line perpendicular to the lateral edge of the standing radiograph.

pelvic obliquity

Angulation of the pelvis from the horizontal in the frontal plane, possibly secondary to a contraction below the pelvis, e.g. of the hip joint. If this angulation is due to a leg length inequality, then the leg lengths should be equalized to create a level pelvis for measurement purposes.

pelvic axial rotation

Rotation of the pelvis in the transverse plane around the vertical axis of the body.

posterior fusion

A technique of stabilizing two or more vertebra by bone grafting with entry from back.

primary curve

The first or earliest curve to appear.





risser sign

Used to indicate spinal maturity, this refers to the appearance of a crescentic line of bone formation which appears across the top of each side of the pelvis.




Curved triangular bone at the base of the spine, consisting of five fused vertebrae known as sacral vertebrae. The sacrum articulates with the last lumbar vertebra and laterally with the pelvic bones.

sacral inclination

The angle between the line along the posterior border of S1 and the vertical lateral edge of a lateral standing radiograph (or between perpendiculars to these lines).

sacral obliquity

An angular deviation of the sacrum from the line drawn parallel to a line across the femoral heads on a supine AP view of the sacrum.

sagittal spinal balance

Alignment of the midpoint of the C7 body to the posterior superior corner of the sacrum on an upright long cassette lateral radiograph of the spine.


A proprietary name for an inclinometer used in measuring trunk rotation.


Lateral deviation of the normal vertical line of the spine which, when measured by X-ray, is greater than ten degrees. Scoliosis consists of a lateral curvature of the spine with rotation of the vertebrae within the curve.


A growth friendly surgical technique in which the goal is for spine growth to be maintained without any active surgical lengthening procedures.

skeletal age

The age obtained by comparing PA x-ray of the left wrist and hand with the standards of the Gruelich and Pyle atlas.

spinal instrumentation

Metal implants fixed to the spine to improve spinal deformity while the fusion matures. This includes a wide variety of rods, hooks, wires and screws used in various combinations.


An inflammatory disease of the spine.


An anterior displacement of a vertebra on the adjacent lower vertebra.

stable vertebra

The thoracic or lumbar vertebra cephalad to a lumbar scoliosis that is most closely bisected by a vertically directed central sacral line assuming the pelvis is level.

structural curve

A segment of the spine that has fixed lateral curvature.

syndromic scoliosis

A form of scoliosis that occurs as part of many syndromic diseases (both genetic and non-genetic syndromes).



thoracic curvature

Any spinal curvature in which the apex of the curve is between the second and eleventh thoracic vertebrae.

thoracolumbar curve

Any curvature that has its apex at the twelfth thoracic or first lumbar vertebra.

thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TSLO)

A type of brace incorporating the thoracic and lumbar spine.


A growth friendly surgical technique in which the goal is for spine growth to be maintained without any active surgical lengthening procedures.






Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Ribs are a form of growth friendly surgery that require periodic surgeries to lengthen the rods in order to allow for growth of the spine and chest wall. These are also known as rib-based growing rods with anchors on the ribs, as opposed to the spine. Vertebral Body Tethering – A form of growth modulation in which a flexible tether is placed on the convex side of a scoliosis in order to affect growth of the spine in a manner that allows for further correction of the scoliosis over time.

vertebral body stapling

A form of growth modulation in which staples are placed on the convex side of a scoliosis in order to affect growth of the spine in a manner that allows for further correction of the scoliosis over time.


One of the 33 bones of the spinal column. A cervical, thoracic, or lumbar vertebra has a cylindrically shaped body anteriorly and a neural arch posteriorly (composed primarily of the laminae and pedicles as well as the other structures in the posterior aspect of the vertebra) that protect the spinal cord. The plural of vertebra is vertebrae.

vertebral column

The flexible supporting column of vertebrae separated by discs and bound together by ligaments.