Scoliosis progression is not always of the same rate. Factors of prognostic significance include:
- curve pattern and severity
- gender of the child
- skeletal maturity
The younger the child, the more potential for growth, the greater the risk of progression. The onset of puberty is regarded as a critical time for scoliosis development because the spine grows most rapidly during this period. (On the average, the spine grows 8 centimetres in girls between 11-13 years of age and in boys 13-15 years of age.) In this period scoliosis tends to progress rapidly, and inspection of the back is most important. When the growth spurt has come to a close, the risk of scoliosis progression declines. Scoliosis in adults does not tend to progress much.
Differing rates of progression are also associated with curve paterns. Double major curves (2 main curves, one in the thoracic area, one in the lumbar area) tend to progress more than a single main thoracic curve. A thoracic curve tends to progress more than a lumbar curve. If there is a flat back in the thoracic area, there is a greater chance of progression.
It is, however, impossible to accurately predict which scoliosis curves will develop and which will not.