Congenital spine conditions

Congenital spine conditions are disorders of the spine that develop in children before birth. Usually, in these cases, the spine does not develop correctly early in fetal development, causing structural issues with the spine or spinal cord. Many spine abnormalities in children cause no problems and may only be discovered during x-rays done for other reasons. Sometimes, congenital spine conditions are progressive and can result in more serious complications. Some of these conditions our pediatric neurosurgeons treat include:

  • Scoliosis
  • Spina Bifida
  • Tethered Spinal Cord
  • Kyphosis
  • Lordosis

Causes and Risk Factors

Medical experts do not know the exact cause of congenital spine conditions. These conditions usually affect the vertebrae that make up the spine. When present, the vertebrae may be partially formed or misshapen, fused together, or missing.


Congenital spine conditions can typically be detected at birth by your medical provider. In some cases, physical symptoms may not be present until early childhood as the condition begins to worsen. Symptoms might include:

  • Abnormal curvature of the spine
  • Uneven shoulders, hips, or legs
  • Difficulty walking


Treatment depends on your child’s specific condition, symptoms, and severity. Treatment plans are usually focused on preventing the condition from worsening, rather than completely correcting the condition. Treatment options might include:

  • Bracing or casting
  • Physical therapy exercises
  • Surgery