Seen from the front or the back a normal spine is straight, the vertebra line up. Scoliosis is where the spine twists and/or curves to the side, usually diagnosed in adolescents. It can be one curve (C-shaped) or two curves (S-shaped). These curves rotate the chest area and can cause a hunchback. The cause for a scoliosis is usually unknown (idiopathic), but sometimes is congenital or developed due to radiation therapy, a spinal cord injury or ageing.


Mild scoliosis does not typically cause problems, but in severe cases when the chest is twisted it can affect the organs in the chest and abdomen. The severity and the symptoms of the scoliosis can differ, but symptoms may include:

  • Back pain
  • Limited spine mobility
  • Problems breathing
  • Fatigue


Treatment depends on the degree of curve, location and cause. Complaints from minor curves can be treated with bracing and/or physiotherapy, including exercises. Surgery is only recommended in severe cases with severe complaints, to correct and stabilise the curves as much as possible.

Within UNCH Haaglanden Medical Center and HagaZiekenhuis are specialised in the surgical treatment of severe and complex scoliosis.