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A lateral curvature of the spine occurring in association with actual rotation of the vertebral body and spine, in the direction of the concavity of the curve.There is wedging of the vertebral body and discs.The resulting prominence of the posterior part of the ribs on the side of the convexity may give a false impression of kyphosis.

Scoliosis can be broadly divided into three categories, the commonest of which is the idiopathic form. Otherwise, scoliosis may be congenital, or may develop as a secondary feature of a variety of neuromuscular or connective tissue disorders. Causes of secondary scoliosis include poliomyelitis, syringomyelia, Friedreich's ataxia, muscular dystrophy, neurofibromatosis, Marfan's syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Scoliosis is described in terms of its angle (Cobb angle). The greater the angle, the more severe the respiratory and subsequent cardiovascular impairment. Surgery is indicated when angulation exceeds 50 degrees in the thoracic spine and 40 degrees in the lumbar spine.

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