Adult Degenerative Scoliosis (ADS)

When scoliosis develops during adulthood without a history of childhood scoliosis, it is usually classified as adult degenerative scoliosis and often associated with adolescents over the age of 18.


Adult scoliosis is sometimes the result of untreated (or even undiagnosed) scoliosis that worsens as the individual ages.

Adult scoliosis may be the result of degeneration (wear and tear) on the spine


Scoliosis refers to the side-to-side curvature of the spine.

If surgically corrected, the procedure may involve:

  • anterior approach(surgical incision is made an incision near the chest wall);
  • posterior approach(surgical incision is made in the back)
  • Fusionrefers to the joining of two vertebrae to help stabilize the vertebrae using hardware called instrumentation, such as screws, pins, rods, and so on.
  • In some cases a bone graft is required:
    • If the bone graft material was taken from the patient himself, it is called auto graft;
    • if it was taken from a donor, it is an allograft.


Changes to the body caused by the aging process may result in degenerative spinal conditions. When parts of the vertebral column begin to age, some people begin to experience back or neck pain.

Common degenerative spinal conditions include:

  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease (DDD)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Vertebral compression fractures
  • Sometimes, the effects of these conditions cause the spine to curve to the left or right.

Abnormal curvature can cause problems such as:

  • Body imbalance, so that the person tilts or veers to one side
  • Spinal instability
  • Rib prominence on either side
  • “Humpback”
  • Irregular gait
  • Legs of different lengths
  • Pain
  • Difficulty sitting or standing
  • Spinal rigidity and stiffness
  • Nerve damage
  • Heart and lung problems.



The Neuro Spinal Hospital can advise patients on the latest treatment options for adult degenerative scoliosis. Most cases of adult scoliosis are treated without surgery.

Treatment may include:

  • Observation of the curve for possible progression
  • Pain medications
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Back exercises for improving posture and gaining strength
  • Moist heat
  • In some cases, bracing may be used (but only to control pain, not to correct the deformity)

Scoliosis patients may benefit from lifestyle modifications including:

  • Weight loss
  • Healthful diet
  • Smoking cessation
  • Regular exercise

Surgical correction of adult degenerative scoliosis is uncommon. However, it may be necessary if:

  • Non operative treatment fails and pain persists
  • Curvature worsens
  • Curvature is excessive (curves greater than 45-degrees)
  • Curvature causes heart and lung problems

The team at Neuro Spinal Hospital will provide patients with the latest treatment options suitable for their individual cases. If spine surgery is necessary, it may include spinal instrumentation with fusion to stabilize the spine using various surgical techniques

The Neuro Spinal Hospital physicians will discuss the potential risks and benefits of adult degenerative scoliosis surgery with potential candidates.



  • Neuro Spinal Hospital can help provide the latest treatment and techniques resulting in optimal outcomes.
  • The prognosis for adult degenerative scoliosis is depends on the severity of the curvature of the spine and the patient’s general health.

Risk Factors

  • Individuals with untreated childhood scoliosis are at risk for scoliosis later in life.
  • Degenerative scoliosis is associated with aging.


  • Adult scoliosis may occur as a result of the aging process (degenerative scoliosis) or untreated childhood scoliosis. While not all adult scoliosis requires treatment, adult scoliosis is progressive and may be associated with pain and other challenging symptoms.
  • The Neuro Spinal Hospital can diagnose and provide the latest treatment options for adult scoliosis.