Skip to main content
Log in

Assessment of curve progression in idiopathic scoliosis

  • Original article
  • Published:
European Spine Journal Aims and scope Submit manuscript


In a 5-year prospective study on idiopathic scoliosis, an attempt was made to elucidate the natural history of the disease and to determine which factors contribute to curve progression. A total of 85,622 children were examined for scoliosis in a prospective school screening study carried out in northwestern and central Greece. Curve progression was studied in 839 of the 1,436 children with idiopathic scoliosis of at least 10° detected from the school screening program. Each child was followed clinically and roentgenographically for one to four follow-up visits for a mean of 3.2 years. Progression of the scoliotic curve was recorded in 14.7% of the children. Spontaneous improvement of at least 5° was observed in 27.4% of them, with 80 children (9.5%) demonstrating complete spontaneous resolution. Eighteen percent of the patients remained stable, while the remaining patients demonstrated nonsignificant changes of less than 5° in curve magnitude. A strong association was observed between the incidence of progression and the sex of the child, curve pattern, maturity, and to a lesser extent age and curve magnitude. More specifically, the following were associated with a high risk of curve progression: sex (girls); curve pattern (right thoracic and double curves in girls, and right lumbar curves in boys); maturity (girls before the onset of menses); age (time of pubertal growth spurt); and curve magnitude (≥ 30°). On the other hand, left thoracic curves showed a weak tendency for progression. In conclusion, the findings of the present study strongly suggest that only a small percentage of scoliotic curves will undergo progression. The pattern of the curve according to curve direction and sex of the child was found to be a key indicator of which curves will progress.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

Received: 4 October 1997 Revised: 10 February 1998 Accepted: 11 March 1998

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Soucacos, P., Zacharis, K., Gelalis, J. et al. Assessment of curve progression in idiopathic scoliosis. E Spine J 7, 270–277 (1998).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: