What causes kyphosis?

Updated: May 04, 2020
  • Author: R Carter Cassidy, MD; Chief Editor: Jeffrey A Goldstein, MD  more...
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Many potential causes of kyphosis have been described. [10]  Scheuermann disease and postural round back are often identified in adolescents and are the most common causes of hyperkyphosis in that age group. [11, 12, 13]  Congenital abnormalities, such as failure of formation or failure of segmentation of the spinal elements, can cause a pathologic kyphosis. Autoimmune arthropathy, such as ankylosing spondylitis, can cause rigid kyphosis to develop as the spinal elements coalesce. Genetic conditions, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, osteogenesis imperfecta, and Marfan syndrome, can also lead to hyperkyphosis. [14]

Kyphosis can also develop as a result of trauma, a spinal tumor, or an infection. Iatrogenic causes of kyphosis include the effects of laminectomy and irradiation, which lead to incompetence of the anterior or posterior column. Finally, metabolic disorders and dwarfing conditions can lead to kyphosis. This is theorized to be due to ligamentous laxity that develops and lead to accentuation of the kyphosis. 

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