Teen Health Supervision

Health Screening

A complete physical should include blood pressure, vision and hearing, and checking the spine for scoliosis.

More on Scoliosis

Significant idiopathic scoliosis (cobb angle >20°) occurs in 0.2-0.3% of the population and is much more common in females. The goal is to keep curves under 30° as they are unlikely to progress once growth is finished.

Teens with asymptomatic curves less than 20° should be examined every 3-6 months during there growth spurt. Curves ~ > 20° should be referred to an orthopedist for bracing during the growth spurt.

Bracing halts progression but can not reduce the magnitude of the curve. Surgery may be considered for curves >40°.


More info: scoliosis from American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons


Hypertension is usually asymptomatic but may indicate the onset of conditions such as renal or cardiovascular disease or drug use.

Vision screening is important because myopia (nearsightedness) often develops and progresses rapidly during pubertal growth. Teenagers may not report vision or hearing problems even if they are adversely affecting educational performance.

Hemoglobin and hematocrit should be obtained on young women a year or two after menarche to check for iron deficiency. Other routine labs are not indicated.

Idiopathic scoliosis (lateral curve of the spine) should be checked for during the early teenage years as it may progress during growth.


More info: Cobb's angle from e-radiography.com