Glossary of Terms

adolescent scoliosis
Lateral spinal curvature that appears before the onset of puberty and before skeletal maturity.


Scoliosis of any cause which is present after skeletal maturity.


autologous blood
Blood collected from a person for later transfusion to the same person. This technique is often used prior to elective surgery if blood loss is expected to occur. This may avoid the use of bank blood from unknown donors and significantly reduces the risk of acquiring transmitted


The practice and technique of transfusing previously drawn autologous blood to the same patient.


cervical spine
That portion of the vertebral column contained in the neck, consisting of seven cervical vertebrae between the skull and the rib cage.


compensatory curve
In spinal deformity, a secondary curve located above or below the structural curvature, which develops in order to maintain normal body alignment.


As it refers to scoliosis, this is the loss of spinal balance when the thoracic cage is not centered over the pelvis.


Removal of all or part of an intervertebral disc (the soft tissue that acts as a shock absorber between the vertebral bodies).


double curve
Two lateral curvatures (scoliosis) in the same spine. Double major curve describes a scoliosis in which there are two structural curves which are usually of equal size.


double thoracic curve
Describes a scoliosis with a structural upper thoracic curve, as well as a larger, more deforming lower thoracic curve, and a relatively nonstructural lumbar curve.


A congenital anomaly of the spine caused by incomplete development of one side of a vertebra resulting in a wedge shape.


hysterical scoliosis
A non-structural deformity of the spine that develops as a manifestation of a psychological disorder.


idiopathic scoliosis
A structural spinal curvature for which cause has not been established.


An instrument used to measure the angle of thoracic prominence, referred to as angle of trunk rotation (ATR) (see also: scoliometer).


infantile scoliosis
A curvature of the spine that develops before three years of age.


juvenile scoliosis
Scoliosis developing between the ages of three and ten years.


A structural scoliosis associated with increased roundback.


A posterior convex angulation of the spine as evaluated on a side view of the spine. Contrast to lordosis.


A lateral curvature of the spine associated with increased swayback.


An anterior angulation of the spine in the sagittal plane. Contrast to kyphosis.


lumbar curve
A spinal curvature whose apex is between the first and fourth lumbar vertebrae (also known as lumbar scoliosis).


Pertaining to the lumbar and sacral regions of the back.


lumbosacral curve
A lateral curvature with its apex at the fifth lumbar vertebra or below (also known as lumbosacral scoliosis).


neuromuscular scoliosis
A form of scoliosis caused by a neurologic disorder of the central nervous system or muscle.


nonstructural curve
Description of a spinal curvature or scoliosis that does not have fixed residual deformity.


Bony process projecting backward from the body of a vertebra, which connects with the lamina on either side.


posterior fusion
A technique of stabilizing two or more vertebra by bone grafting with entry from back.


primary curve
The first or earliest curve to appear.


risser sign
Used to indicate spinal maturity, this refers to the appearance of a crescentic line of bone formation which appears across the top of each side of the pelvis.


Curved triangular bone at the base of the spine, consisting of five fused vertebrae known as sacral vertebrae. The sacrum articulates with the last lumbar vertebra and laterally with the pelvic bones.


A proprietary name for an inclinometer used in measuring trunk rotation.


Lateral deviation of the normal vertical line of the spine which, when measured by X-ray, is greater than ten degrees. Scoliosis consists of a lateral curvature of the spine with rotation of the vertebrae within the curve.


spinal instrumentation
Metal implants fixed to the spine to improve spinal deformity while the fusion matures. This includes a wide variety of rods, hooks, wires and screws used in various combinations.


An inflammatory disease of the spine.


An anterior displacement of a vertebra on the adjacent lower vertebra.


structural curve
A segment of the spine that has fixed lateral curvature.


thoracic curvature
Any spinal curvature in which the apex of the curve is between the second and eleventh thoracic vertebrae.


thoracolumbar curve
Any curvature that has its apex at the twelfth thoracic or first lumbar vertebra.


thoracolumbosacral orthosis
(TLSO) a type of brace incorporating the thoracic and lumbar spine.


vertebral column
The flexible supporting column of vertebrae separated by discs and bound together by ligaments.