J Korean Soc Spine Surg.  2019 Jun;26(2):56-62. 10.4184/jkss.2019.26.2.56.

Prevalence of Thoracic Scoliosis in Koreans Using Simple Chest Radiography

  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Sanggye Paik Hospital, College of Medicine, Inje University, Seoul, Korea. spine@paik.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, CM Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.


STUDY DESIGN: A cross-sectional study.
To provide reference data for the study and treatment of thoracic scoliosis. SUMMARY OF LITERATURE REVIEW: There have been no reports on the prevalence of thoracic scoliosis in Korea.
From August 2011 to October 2012, radiographs of patients under 80 years of age who underwent routine chest radiographs were retrospectively reviewed. Based on their age when the chest radiographs were obtained, the patients were divided into 8 groups. The prevalence and angle of the curve of thoracic scoliosis were investigated in each age group, and the prevalence of thoracic scoliosis according to sex, the direction of the curve, number of vertebrae in the major curve, the location and rotation of the apical vertebrae, and osteophyte location were examined.
The prevalence of thoracic scoliosis was 2.4% (621 patients), and female patients (3.0%, 375 of 12471) showed a higher prevalence than male patients (1.8%, 246 of 13654) (p<0.001). Right curvature was present in 445 patients and left curvature in 176 patients. In each age group, the prevalence and degree of thoracic scoliosis were 1.1% (14.2°±3.2°), 2.3% (17.4°±7.7°), 2.5% (17.0°±8.9°), 1.9% (15.8°±5.9°), 1.3% (15.5°±6.6°), 2.1% (18.0°±13.6°), 2.9% (14.3°±3.6°), and 6.1% (16.2°±4.8°), respectively. The mean curvature in all scoliosis patients was 16.0°±7.0°. The angle of the curve was significantly different by sex (15.4°±7.1° for males, 16.8°±7.6° for females). The average curve angle of patients with thoracic scoliosis was 16.0°±7.0°, among whom it was 10°-20° in 533 patients, 20°-30° in 64, 30°-40° in 11, and over 40° in 13.
This study could be used as a reference point for the study and treatment of thoracic scoliosis.


Scoliosis; Thoracic vertebrae; Prevalence

MeSH Terms

Cross-Sectional Studies
Radiography, Thoracic
Retrospective Studies
Thoracic Vertebrae


  • Fig. 1. Flow diagram of enrollment of the study participants.

  • Fig. 2. A chest radiograph of a 69-year-old man revealed a focal nodular opacity in the right upper lobe and right costophrenic angle blunting. In addition, thoracolumbar scoliosis was also observed on the chest radiograph, and the patient was ultimately excluded from this study.

  • Fig. 3. A 22-year-old woman presented with thoracic scoliosis with a Cobb angle of 51.6° from T6 to T12 on her chest radiograph.


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