BMJ Case Reports 2012; doi:10.1136/bcr.01.2012.5594
  • Unusual presentation of more common disease/injury

Acute scoliosis in a 3-year-old boy

  1. Vikram Desai1
  1. 1Orthopaedics Department, Kings Mill Hospital, Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, UK
  2. 2Paediatrics Department, Kings Mill Hospital, Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rishi Malhotra, rishi.malhotra{at}


The case describes the presentation of a fit and well 3-year-old boy to the emergency department of a district general hospital after he developed an acute scoliosis overnight. There was no history of trauma, his observations were normal and he had non-specific symptoms of lethargy and reduced appetite, but no fevers or respiratory distress. Bloods showed raised inflammatory markers and he was referred to orthopaedics as a septic disc as there was some spinal tenderness. An urgent MRI was considered initially but on further examination there was some reduced air entry on the left lung base which a chest radiograph confirmed as a left-sided pneumonia. A diagnosis of pneumonia and secondary functional scoliosis was made. The child was admitted under paediatrics and made a full recovery on antibiotics. At 8 weeks follow-up there was resolution of scoliosis clinically and radiologically.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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