Scheuermann's kyphosis; current controversies

A I Tsirikos, A K Jain
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. British Volume 2011, 93 (7): 857-64
This review of the literature presents the current understanding of Scheuermann's kyphosis and investigates the controversies concerning conservative and surgical treatment. There is considerable debate regarding the pathogenesis, natural history and treatment of this condition. A benign prognosis with settling of symptoms and stabilisation of the deformity at skeletal maturity is expected in most patients. Observation and programmes of exercise are appropriate for mild, flexible, non-progressive deformities. Bracing is indicated for a moderate deformity which spans several levels and retains flexibility in motivated patients who have significant remaining spinal growth. The loss of some correction after the completion of bracing with recurrent anterior vertebral wedging has been reported in approximately one-third of patients. Surgical correction with instrumented spinal fusion is indicated for a severe kyphosis which carries a risk of progression beyond the end of growth causing cosmetic deformity, back pain and neurological complications. There is no consensus on the effectiveness of different techniques and types of instrumentation. Techniques include posterior-only and combined anteroposterior spinal fusion with or without posterior osteotomies across the apex of the deformity. Current instrumented techniques include hybrid and all-pedicle screw constructs.

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