Download Full Text (1.6 MB)

Document Type



• Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is the most common form of scoliosis. It affects 2-4 percent of adolescents aged 10-16 years. Although most adolescents diagnosed with scoliosis will not develop clinical symptoms, ten percent will progress and require medical intervention due to the potential for rib deformity and respiratory compromise as well as significant emotional distress due to aesthetic changes in appearance. Primary care providers should be prepared to evaluate and recommend treatment when idiopathic scoliosis is discovered or addressed by the patient. Three major factors that determine whether scoliosis will progress are patient gender, magnitude of curve on presentation, and patient’s growth potential. Treatment options include non-operative, such as observation, exercises, bracing, and electrical stimulation, as well as operative interventions including spinal fusion using a variety of rod implants. The review of literature explores studies that compare the non-operative and operative treatment options for AIS. It was found that non-operative therapy can be used as a comparable and preferable option to surgery for many AIS patients. The findings indicate that the AIS patient outcomes as well as criteria of each treatment option is determined by many factors, including; patient’s age, gender, maturity of the bone, presence of secondary complications, location and severity of the curve, psychological implications of a deformity, and the patient’s willingness to participate in treatment.


Physician Assistant Studies

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

First Advisor

Susan Kuntz

Publication Date



Adolescent; Conservative Treatment; Scoliosis -- surgery; Treatment Outcome; Comparative Study


Orthopedics | Pediatrics | Physical Therapy

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis: Comparing and Contrasting Operative Versus Non-Operative Treatment