Thursday, April 18, 2024

Understanding Congenital Kyphosis in Children: What Causes It and How It Can Be Treated?

The backbone is a crucial part of our body that plays a key role in our skeletal system and provides structural support. But sometimes, things don’t go as planned, and a curve or hunch forms in the back. This condition is known as Kyphosis. Also, when a baby is born with this condition, it’s called Congenital Kyphosis.

In this article, we’ll discuss what exactly congenital kyphosis is, its causes and symptoms, and the treatment options. So, let’s get into it:

What is Congenital Kyphosis?

Congenital Kyphosis is a rare condition that occurs during fetal development, which results in a forward curvature of the back. This condition mostly occurs in newborns and it can go from mild to severe, depending on the curvature and its impact on the spinal cord and surrounding structures.

Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment options are essential to manage this condition and prevent it from becoming severe or worse.

What are the Causes of Congenital Kyphosis?

So, now you’ve got a glimpse of this condition, let’s discuss some of the common causes of congenital kyphosis:

  • Genetic factors: In some cases, congenital kyphosis runs in families, which suggests a genetic predisposition. Individuals with a family history of this condition are more prone to developing this condition.
  • Teratogenic factors: Certain medications during pregnancy are also the major causes of abnormal spine development and lead to congenital kyphosis.
  • Intrauterine factors: Conditions within the womb, such as inadequate amniotic fluid or abnormal positioning of the fetus, can cause abnormal spine development in newborns.
  • Chromosomal abnormalities: This is a rare situation when chromosomal abnormalities can affect the spine development in newborns.

There are three types of congenital kyphosis: Type 1: Failure of Formation, Type 2: Failure of Segmentation, and Mixed Type. However, these three types of congenital kyphosis may vary depending on the location and the severity of the spinal curvature.

Symptoms of Congenital Kyphosis

The symptoms of this rare condition, congenital kyphosis, depend on the severity of the curvature and whether it affects the spinal cord or surrounding nerves.

Some of the common signs or symptoms of this condition are:

  • Visible hump on the upper back
  • Back pain or discomfort
  • Reduced flexibility in the spine
  • Neurological symptoms, such as difficulty in walking, numbness, or weakness.

In most cases, the congenital kyphosis isn’t visible during birth. However, as the child grows older, the spinal curvature becomes noticeable. As the child grows, he/she may encounter a wide range of problems related to congenital kyphosis, such as difficulty breathing, stiffness, fatigue, and back pain. Note that not all children face these symptoms, if they have mild kyphosis, which is often related to poor posture habits.

Diagnosis of this condition in newborns typically involves a thorough medical history, physical examination, and imaging studies, such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans. These tests help determine the type and extent of the kyphotic deformity and assess its impact on the spinal cord and nerves.

Treatment Options for Congenital Kyphosis

The treatment options for this condition depend on the severity of the deformity, the age of the patient, and the current symptoms. However, here are some of the most common treatment options for congenital kyphosis:

1. Observation

If the child has mild kyphosis that doesn’t cause any pain or neurological symptoms, then observation will be the initial approach. During the observation, the healthcare provider will monitor the situation with X-rays to track the changes in the curvature, if any.

2. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is one of the best treatment options to improve spinal inflexibility, strengthen the muscles, and promote good posture. Physical therapy is often used as a conservative management option, especially for mild cases.

3. Bracing

For children with moderate congenital kyphosis, bracing is considered the best treatment option. Braces help to slow down or prevent further progression of the curvature. The type and duration of bracing may vary from case to case.

4. Surgery

In case of severe congenital kyphosis, surgery is considered. The primary aim of the surgery is to correct the spinal curvature, relieve spinal cord compression, and stabilize the spine. Some surgical options which are used are Posterior Spinal Fusion, Anterior Spinal Fusion, and growth-friendly surgery.

5. Rehabilitation

After surgery, rehabilitation and physical therapy are crucial for a successful recovery. These programs focus on regaining strength, mobility, and function while minimizing pain and discomfort.


Congenital kyphosis is a spinal deformity present at birth, resulting from abnormal vertebral development during fetal growth. It can vary in severity and type, with some cases causing pain and neurological symptoms.

Diagnosis and treatment options depend on the individual case, with conservative approaches like physical therapy and bracing often effective for mild cases, while surgery may be necessary for severe deformities.

With proper management, individuals with congenital kyphosis can lead fulfilling lives, and advances in medical care continue to improve outcomes for those affected by this condition.

Kellie Kearney
Kellie Kearney
Hi! I'm Kellie, a mammy of six vibrant youngsters. Juggling the roles of stay-at-home parent, I share honest stories and parenting fails. You'll often find me as a mum bun wearer, professional cake eater, and also a coffee lover. My typical day involves navigating through parenting challenges, whether it's enticing my little ones with a tempting custard cream, googling our next adventure, or eagerly awaiting Joe's return home. Join me on this rollercoaster journey of love, chaos, and laughter!

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