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One hundred and seventy-seven patients who had adolescent idiopathic scoliosis were followed from the time of the initial evaluation to skeletal maturity or arthrodesis. At that time, we analyzed the degree of curvature to determine if it was related to parental age at the time of the patient's birth. Patients who were born to mothers who were twenty-seven years old or more had a mean curve of 35.2 degrees, which was significantly greater (p = 0.02) than that of patients whose mothers were younger than twenty-seven years, who had a mean curve of 30.4 degrees. More patients whose mothers were twenty-seven years old or older ultimately needed arthrodesis than did those whose mothers were younger than twenty-seven years (26 compared with 12 per cent). Therefore, a maternal age of twenty-seven years old or more is a risk factor for greater progression of the curve and indicates a potential need for arthrodesis. No difference in the degree of curvature was seen when the patients were grouped according to paternal age.