Idiopathic scoliosis and the vestibular system

Ammar H. Hawasli, Timothy E. Hullar, Ian G. Dorward

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Purpose: Despite its high prevalence, the etiology underlying idiopathic scoliosis remains unclear. Although initial scrutiny has focused on genetic, biochemical, biomechanical, nutritional and congenital causes, there is growing evidence that aberrations in the vestibular system may play a role in the etiology of scoliosis. In this article, we discuss putative mechanisms for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and review the current evidence supporting a role for the vestibular system in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Methods: A comprehensive search of the English literature was performed using PubMed ( Research articles studying interactions between adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and the vestibular system were selected and evaluated for inclusion in a literature review.

Results: Eighteen manuscripts of level 3–4 clinical evidence to support an association between adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) and dysfunction of the vestibular system were identified. These studies include data from physiologic and morphologic studies in humans. Clinical data are supported by animal model studies to suggest a causative link between the vestibular system and AIS.

Conclusions: Clinical data and a limited number of animal model studies suggest a causative role of the vestibular system in AIS, although this association has not been reproduced in all studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  • Labyrinth
  • Scoliosis
  • Vestibular
  • Vestibular System

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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