Kyphosis is a forward curvature of the spine that can be seen when looking at the patient from the side (in profile). A certain amount of kyphosis is normal in the thoracic spine. When excessive, kyphosis can cause cosmetic and functional difficulties.
A variety of causes and conditions may result in excessive kyphosis; however, the types that are seen most frequently include postural kyphosis and Scheuermann’s kyphosis. The “Dowager’s hump” observed in elderly patients (women more commonly than men) is an example of greater than normal kyphosis due to osteoporosis of the vertebral bodies.