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23 October 2014

Epigenetics and Scoliosis: Stop Blaming Your Genes!

Scoliosis has traditionally been believed to be a genetic condition that an individual is predisposed to before birth. According to this belief, if you have the misfortune of developing scoliosis, then it was written into your DNA and there is nothing you or any doctor can do about it.

However, the emerging field of epigenetics suggests that we are not solely a product of our heredity. Recent studies have shown the connection between genetic diseases like scoliosis, and environmental influences. It is now coming to light that we can directly affect the development of our genes through our lifestyle choices. For many people, this puts control of their heath back into their own hands. Epigenetics tells us that by making good choices about what we expose our body to, we can fight the genetic predispositions that seemed previously set in stone.

28 August 2014

Do experienced surgeons have better outcomes with scoliosis surgery? 5 findings

An article recently published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery examined whether surgeon experience had an impact on outcomes for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis correction.
The researchers examined posterior-only surgical procedures for AIS from 2007 to 2008 and followed patients for a minimum of two years. There were nine surgeons in the study total — four who had less than five years of experience and five surgeons who had five or more years of experience. Around 165 patients were included in the study.

The researchers found:

1. Less experienced surgeons fused an average of 1.2 levels more than the more experienced surgeons.

2. Patients in the less experienced surgeons' group reported more than twice as much estimated blood loss as the experienced group. Patients in the young surgeons' group reported 2,042 mL of estimated blood loss, compared to 1,013 mL for the experienced surgeons' group.

3. Surgical time was 458 minutes for the less experienced surgeons and 265 minutes for the more experienced surgeons.

4. Overall SRS-22 scores were significantly worse in the less experienced surgeons' group than the more experienced surgeons' group. The average score was 4.1 for the less experienced group, compared with 4.5 for the more experienced group.

5. Pain, self-image and function had significant differences between both groups. However, complication rates were relatively the same between the less and more experienced surgeons.