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Kyphosis Spinal Deformities in Children

Kyphosis is a forward rounding of the back and type of inflexible spinal deformity often referred to as hunchback. While everyone’s back is slightly curved, this condition is characterized by a rounding of more than 50 degrees.  Kyphosis in children can be congenital, meaning present at birth, or non-congenital.

Congenital Kyphosis

In congenital kyphosis, the condition is caused by defects during vertebral development. There are two types of congenital kyphosis:

  • Failure of formation (Type I deformity) – This type is typically visible at birth as a lump or bump on the infant’s spine and will usually worsen with age.
  • Failure of segmentation (Type II deformity) – This type occurs as two or more vertebrae fail to separate and form normal discs. This type is more likely to be diagnosed at a later age, such as after the child begins walking.

Non-Congenital Kyphosis

Non-congenital kyphosis in children can be caused by infection, trauma, or an underlying condition such as:

  • Metabolic problems, such as diabetes or thyroid disease
  • Neuromuscular conditions, including spina bifida, cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Tumor conditions such as neurofibromatosis
  • Scheuermann’s disease

Diagnosis & Treatments

X-rays are typically used to determine the severity of the curvature. Treatment options vary depending on the age of the child when diagnosed, type and severity of the condition, and the patient’s parents’ wishes. Bracing and physical therapy may be a viable treatment option for mild cases of kyphosis, whereas surgery – the most common being spinal fusion – may be recommended for more severe cases.

Tampa General Hospital’s Children's Medical Center provides care and treatment to children with kyphosis and other pediatric orthopedic conditions. Our team of specialists, which include orthopedic spine surgeons, physical therapists, nurses, and other professionals, work together to create individualized treatment plans that help our patients achieve the best possible outcomes.

Click here to use our Physician Finder to find an orthopedic spine surgeon.