Kyphosis Prognosis

Kyphosis is a condition in which the thoracic spine is abnormally curved, in the vertical plane, backwards. It is often postural, but may also be due to abnormal vertebral development or shape. The excessive degree of curvature may cause problems in organ-systems such has the heart and lungs.

Mild Kyphosis

Most patients have mild kyphosis, which does not require treatment beyond taking over-the-counter pain-relieving medicine for lower back pain, and exercise to strengthen the back muscles. Physical therapy is best combined with core exercises, such as martial arts or Pilates. This also controls and gets rid of back pain if done regularly.

Mild to Moderate Kyphosis

Mild to moderate kyphosis is initially treated with a back brace, until bone growth stops at around 15 years. Surgery is not recommended in most cases due to the risky nature of the procedures. Thus, only severe kyphosis is routinely corrected by surgical techniques, most commonly spinal fusion. This is more so if cardiorespiratory problems arise due to kyphosis. Furthermore, a very prominent curvature, which causes severe intractable pain or compromises spinal integrity, is also an indication for surgical intervention.

In the case of postural kyphosis, correction of posture, along with the avoidance of activities like carrying heavy loads on the back, usually leads to a good outcome.

Scheuermann’s kyphosis (i.e. developmental kyphosis) can be treated depending on the person’s age, gender, magnitude of the curve and its rigidity. This curve usually increases during the growth spurt and may thereafter become static. If the curve is severe, surgery is advised, but the prognosis for normal spinal function is extremely good, because the condition does not progress afterwards.

Scheuermanns's Disease (Kyphosis)

With congenital kyphosis, surgical correction is often advised. Surgery is usually followed up by back bracing for several months to allow the spine to heal properly without undergoing strain. However, this does not restrict normal physical activity after about a month or two. Athletics should be resumed only after full and normal spinal function is recovered, which is within a year post-operatively.

Skilled surgery and careful follow-up produce a normal spinal outcome in the vast majority of cases.

Complications of Surgery

Spinal fusion is rarely required, but may entail complications, such as:

  • Post-operative infection
  • Hemorrhage around the surgical site
  • Nerve damage with loss of visceral function, such as bowel and bladder continence

Prognosis without Treatment

Untreated severe or progressive kyphosis is also associated with limiting complications, which can significantly reduce the quality of life. These include severe and chronic back pain, back deformity, poor respiratory capacity and neurological symptoms and signs, such as limb paralysis or weakness.


Further Reading

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2019

Dr. Liji Thomas

Written by

Dr. Liji Thomas

Dr. Liji Thomas is an OB-GYN, who graduated from the Government Medical College, University of Calicut, Kerala, in 2001. Liji practiced as a full-time consultant in obstetrics/gynecology in a private hospital for a few years following her graduation. She has counseled hundreds of patients facing issues from pregnancy-related problems and infertility, and has been in charge of over 2,000 deliveries, striving always to achieve a normal delivery rather than operative.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Thomas, Liji. (2019, February 26). Kyphosis Prognosis. News-Medical. Retrieved on September 27, 2022 from

  • MLA

    Thomas, Liji. "Kyphosis Prognosis". News-Medical. 27 September 2022. <>.

  • Chicago

    Thomas, Liji. "Kyphosis Prognosis". News-Medical. (accessed September 27, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Thomas, Liji. 2019. Kyphosis Prognosis. News-Medical, viewed 27 September 2022,


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment