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19 December 2006

New Research on Scoliosis Surgery

Out of the scientific Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation comes perhaps the most truthful and comprehensive study ever published on the surgical treatment of scoliosis:

"Pediatric scoliosis is associated with signs and symptoms including reduced pulmonary function, increased pain and impaired quality of life, all of which worsen during adulthood, even when the curvature remains stable. In 1941, the American Orthopedic Association reported that for 70% of patients treated surgically, the outcome was fair or poor.... [S]uccessful surgery still does not eliminate spinal curvature and it introduces irreversible complications whose long-term impact is poorly understood. For most patients there is little or no improvement in pulmonary function.... The rib deformity is eliminated only by rib resection which can dramatically on reduce respiratory function even in healthy adolescents. Outcome for pulmonary function and deformity is worse in patients treated surgically before the age of 10 years, despite earlier intervention. Research to develop effective non-surgical methods to prevent progression of mild, reversible spinal curvatures into complex, irreversible spinal deformities is long overdue." [emphasis added]

Impact of spine surgery on signs and symptoms of spinal deformity.
Pediatric Rehabilitation, 2006 Oct-Dec;9(4):318-36
Hawes, M.