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Spine J. 2002 Jan-Feb;2(1):49-56.

Scheuermann kyphosis: long-term follow-up.

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Barnhart Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, 6560 Fannin, Suite 1900, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



There is considerable controversy as to the optimal treatment of Scheuermann kyphosis. Proposed modalities have included exercise, bracing and surgery.


The purpose of this study was to document the functional capacity and radiographic findings in adults who have been previously treated for Scheuermann kyphosis.


A cohort study of all patients with Scheuermann kyphosis treated in a single institution using three different treatment modalities: exercise and observation, Milwaukee bracing and surgical fusion using the Harrington Compression System.


Sixty-three patients were evaluated at a mean of 14 years after treatment (10 to 28 years).


Two different functional evaluation instruments were used. Radiographic evaluation was carried out in 38 patients (60%).


Patient interviews were conducted using a specially designed questionnaire. Patients were then asked to undergo standing radiographs. Patients were divided into groups depending on the location of their kyphosis and the manner in which they had been treated. Standard statistical analysis was then carried out.


At time of follow-up evaluation there were no differences in marital status, general health, education level, work status, degree of pain and functional capacity between the various curve types, treatment modality and degree of curve. Patients treated by bracing or surgery did have improved self-image, which they attributed to their treatment. Patients with kyphotic curves exceeding 70 degrees at follow-up had an inferior functional result. At time of final follow-up there were no statistical differences in degree of kyphosis and mode of treatment.


By carefully selecting the appropriate treatment for patients with Scheuermann kyphosis on the basis of the patient's age, spinal deformity and the severity of back pain, it is possible to achieve a similar functional result at long-term follow-up. Despite different treatment protocols, patients with Scheuermann kyphosis tend to achieve a similar functional result at long-term follow-up.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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