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BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2011 Sep 30;12:216. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-12-216.

Scoliotic posture as the initial symptom in adolescents with lumbar disc herniation: its curve pattern and natural history after lumbar discectomy.

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Spine Surgery, Drum Tower Hospital, Nanjing University Medical School, Joint Scoliosis Research Center of Nanjing University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 321 Zhongshan Road, Nanjing 210008, China.



There have been few studies focusing on the curve pattern of scoliosis caused by lumbar disc herniation (LDH) in adolescents and the natural history of scoliosis after discectomy. The current study was carried out to identify the curve pattern of scoliosis and investigate the effect of posterior discectomy on the curve improvement in adolescents with LDH.


This review focused on a group of 26 adolescents with LDH who initially presented to our clinic for evaluation of scoliosis, followed by posterior discectomy between 2000 and 2009. Radiographic measurements included curve pattern, specific curve features, trunk shift, and sagittal profile. The correlation between the side of disc herniation and the direction of lumbosacral curve and the trunk shift was evaluated.


A typical curve pattern was initially identified in all of the patients as a short lumbosacral curve accompanied with a long thoracic or thoracolumbar curve toward the opposite side. 23 of 26 patients (88.5%) had a trunk shift more than 2.0 cm away from the midline, showing a poor coronal balance. A relatively straight sagittal profile was noted in all the patients. 84.6% (22/26) patients had a disc herniation at the convex side of lumbosacral curve. Similarly, 73.1% (19/26) patients showed a trunk shift toward the opposite side of disc herniation. All of the patients had an marked curve improvement immediately after discectomy. In the 17 patients with a more than 2-year follow-up, only two had a residual lumbosacral curve greater than or equal to 20 degrees. The mean ODI improved from 21.4% before surgery to 7.3% at the final follow-up.


A short lumbosacral curve accompanied with a long thoracic or thoracolumbar curve toward the opposite side, and a relatively straight sagittal profile have been noted in all the patients. The direction of lumbosacral curve and trunk shift was related to the side of disc herniation. A majority of patients have a small curve size while assosiated with a significant coronal imbalance. Earlier decompression can provide a greater opportunity for spontaneous correction of scoliosis.

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