AIS or Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis is a type of bone disease that affects children at the age of 10 up to 18. Generally, this is the most common type of scoliosis in children. The percentage of its onset is about 4 out of 100 adolescents. And learning those adolescence and its pending health issues, AIS is usually surprising for parents.

Causes of AIS

Until now, there is still an ongoing research about the cause of the AIS onset. As its name implies – “Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis” – idiopathic, meaning it has no definite cause. However, there are lots of theories that may link to the onset of the condition.

Genetic relation

Based on studies, around 30% of teenager with AIS cases have records of scoliosis that run in the family. The Scoliosis Research team is still identifying the genes responsible for this condition.

Other Causes

Due to continuous research, other causes of AIS includes hormonal imbalance, muscle imbalance, and asymmetric growth.

Symptoms of AIS

Adolescents with AIS do not experience pains nor exhibit abnormal appearances. But, noticeable symptoms connected with AIS includes:
• Rib hump
• Asymmetric height of shoulder
• Torso lean
• Lower back pain

AIS Diagnosis

Here are some ways to diagnose AIS in adolescents:

1. Postural Screening Exam

The evaluation of teenagers of scoliosis is through observation of their posture in a 360 degrees position.

2. Spine Examination

The following measures should be done to assess the adolescent:
• Adams forward bend test with inclinometer
• Ligament laxity assessment
• Neurologic examination

3. Standing X-ray

The back and side of the entire spine should be examined through radiographs with standing x-ray. Other x-rays should be performed as additional means in identifying the curves flexibility.

4. MRI

In case the adolescent exhibits some neurologic abnormalities, the magnetic resonance imaging may be ordered by the physician. However, it is not always used for AIS patients.

5. Measuring the teenage growth potential

Identifying the skeletal maturity of the child uses the Risser grading system. The height is measured every clinic visit to find out the growth potential.

Treatment for AIS

AIS treatment primarily depends on the risk of the development of curvatures. It usually has three categories. These are the following:

1. Observation

This treatment process is applicable for those adolescents who have curves that below 25 to 30 degrees and their growth is still on-going. It also applies for those with curves below 45 degrees and are already full grown. Spine surgeons like Dr. Randall Dryer monitor scoliosis every few years in such time an adolescent is fully grown.

2. Brace

The purpose of the brace is primarily to prevent a spinal fusion surgery.

Randomly, patients are assigned to wear brace. 75% exhibited curves that did not go beyond 50O threshold at the maturity of the skeletal muscle for surgery.

3. Surgery

This treatment category is generally applicable for patients with curves that are higher than 45 degrees with continuous growth.