Definition of Kyphoscoliosis

Written by lisa kaplan gordon
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Kyphoscoliosis is a progressive spinal abnormality that combines kyphosis, the forward curving of the upper back (a hunchback), with scoliosis, the side-to-side curving of the spine, according to MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. The condition is occasionally spelled cyphoscoliosis, and sometimes called scoliokyphosis.

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Kyphoscoliosis occurs in both male and females, though more commonly in girls, in all races and ethnic groups, according to Electromed, Inc., which makes an airway clearance system available to treat the breathing problems that can result from such spinal deformities. A shortened stature, restricted lung volumes, and stiff chest wall are often a result of the deformity, according to Loyola University Medical Education Network.


According to the American Association of Retired Persons, kyphosis can be caused by several factors, including degenerative illnesses, such as arthritis, and fractures caused by osteoporosis. Eight-five percent of scoliosis cases are "idiopathic," have no known cause, according to the Scoliosis Research Society, though genetics seem to play a major part. Although kyphoscoliosis, too, can run in families, most cases have no known cause.


Kyphoscoliosis can affect 1 in 10 people, though 80 to 85 percent of cases are mild and require no treatment: 1 in 1,000 people will require surgery for the condition, according to Electromed, Inc.


People with mild deformities can benefit from back braces, while surgery can fix the spine and stop the "progression of the deformity," according to Right Health. Some patients may require oxygen if their chest cavities are sufficiently deformed and their breathing capacity is reduced, according to Loyola University Medical Education Network.

Famous Ties

Eddie Carmel, the 7-foot 6-3/4-inch actor/comedian known as The Jewish Giant, suffered from severe kyphoscoliosis when he died at age 37 in the Bronx, New York, according to The Internet Movie Database. The ailment had shortened Carmel's height to 7 feet at the time of his death in July 1972.

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