The UK NSC recommendation on Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis screening

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended
Last review completed August 2016
Next review due in 2019/20
Key downloads

Find general information about population health screening.

Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?

Screening for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis is not recommended because:

• there is no agreed cut off of the forward bend where doctors would agree that treatment is necessary - this means that some children would go on to have further tests when they would get better on their own and some would miss tests and treatments they would benefit from

• the further test is an X-ray examination - this would expose people to radiation which can be harmful

• it is also unclear whether treating people found through screening is better than waiting for symptoms to develop

More about Scoliosis

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine to one side. In those who have the condition, the spine bends either to the left or to the right. The bend can occur at any point along the spine from the top to the bottom. The curvature also varies from slight to severe. However, the chest area (thoracic scoliosis) and the lower part of the back (lumbar scoliosis) are the most common regions to be affected.

» Read more about scoliosis on NHS Choices


British Orthopaedic Association
British Scoliosis Research Foundation
British Scoliosis Society
Faculty of Public Health
Institute of Child Health
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Royal College of Surgeons
Scoliosis Association UK
• Scoliosis Awareness Ireland
Scoliosis Ireland
Support with Scoliosis Cymru

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

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