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Thread: Idiopathic vs. Congenital

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Idiopathic vs. Congenital

    I'm really confused between idiopathic scoliosis and congenital scoliosis. My dad and his brothers had scoliosis and mine was first diagnosed when I was 16. My brother and sister were diagnosed in their 30s (they have very mild cases; you wouldn't know to look at them that they had scoliosis). Since I didn't have scoliosis (or symptoms of it) until I was 16, is it idiopathic or congenital (from my father)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Hi. Congenital doesn't mean hereditary. Congenital means there is some spinal abnormality (misshapen vertebra). Unless someone has a misshapen vertebra determined on radiograph, your family all probably has idiopathic because that is the most common form and it runs in families because it is hereditary.

    Here are some references...

    Q: In the case of the teenager, how would you know the youngster had congenital scoliosis and not idiopathic scoliosis?
    A: When you look at an x-ray and see abnormal bone, you know is congenital. With idiopathic scoliosis, you won't see any abnormal bone. As your readers will recall, idiopathic means a disorder that has no known cause.

    Scoliosis may be broken down into two distinct categories, congenital scoliosis (CS) and idiopathic scoliosis (IS). CS is defined as a lateral curvature of the spine due to a developmental abnormality.
    In contrast to this, IS is defined as a lateral curvature of the spine for which no cause can be determined.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine

    "We are all African."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Thank you so much, Sharon, for the explanation. I understand it now!

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