Bullets family has a history of scoliosis, and that curve is pretty high! Because of his family history the AF Dodmerb watched Bullet like a hawk (his sister had a rod placement when she was 13, her daughter is 11 now and has a 40, she will be getting the operation in a few weeks)
When Bullet went for his final exam b4 commissioning they DQ'd him b/c they stated he was over 20 degrees. His parents had the sense of mind to take him to a reknown specialist in NYC (doc was actually featured in People mag for his medical work). The doctor went in and did a full work up (all day), and he proved that his curve was many degrees less, much less than the DQ, the AF accepted his findings and no waiver was ever needed. A couple of things he stated was that the curve can look larger if they are standing improperly for the x ray or if they breathe during the procedure and also that evry human being has some degree of curvature. Twenty yrs later, Bullet is still flying and has never had the issue addressed again!
As a parent I would be more concerned looking into the degree, at the 40 degree it can start crushing organs and that is why they do the operation...don't mean to frighten you, take him to a specialist now, it is a fixable non life threatening operation. The operation no longer requires a body cast for 6 mos., it is now @ a 6 week rehab time. The specialist will also be able to say if it really that large of a curve or if the x ray was taken improperly (as in Bullets case). You should also be able to notice by asking him to stand straight up against a wall...Mark where his shoulders are at and measure. I am so paranoid about Bullets family history, that I constantly look at my kids and him, if they seem to have one shoulder higher I tell them to stand up straight and re-look again. Another way to tell is if their pants seem to be lower on one side (hip would be higher).
Also find out if you have scoliosis in your family history, because it is genetic and you might need to watch your other children. Your DS will also need to pay attention to his own children in the future.
The positive is that scoliosis tends to happen during growth spurts (too fast) and so he should be through it by now, this is why the girls are found at a younger age compared to boys