Prospective Comparison of Patient-selected Operative Versus Nonoperative Treatment of Scheuermann Kyphosis

Connor Green, Kaitlyn Brown, Heather Caine, Rebecca J. Dieckmann, Karl E. Rathjen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background:Scheuermann kyphosis (SK) can be managed operatively or nonoperatively. Few studies compare the effect of operative versus nonoperative treatment on patient health-related quality of life. We compare 2-year radiographic and the Scoliosis Research Society-22 questionnaire (SRS-22) results of patients who self-selected either conservative or surgical treatment.Methods:Single institution review of prospectively collected data for patients presenting with SK from 2006 to 2014. Forty-five of 55 patients returned for 2-year follow-up. Patients were divided into operative (n=27) or nonoperative (n=18) groups based upon their self-selected method of treatment. Radiographic data and SRS-22 scores were collected at initial presentation and 2-year follow-up.Results:Operatively treated patients had larger initial sagittal Cobb angles and lower SRS-22 scores in the pain and appearance domains. Two years postoperatively, surgically treated patients had smaller Cobb angles and improved scores in these SRS-22 domains. Nonoperatively treated patients did not deteriorate over time.Conclusions:Patients who elect to receive operative treatment for SK have improved radiographic and SRS-22 parameters at 2-year follow-up compared with patients who elect nonoperative treatment. Not surprisingly, patients selecting surgical treatment had greater sagittal Cobb angles and greater levels of pain and dissatisfaction with their appearance. However, at 2-year follow-up, surgical patients experience greater (and significant) change on all parameters; exhibiting smaller Cobb angles, less pain, and greater satisfaction with their outcomes. Nonoperatively treated patients do not deteriorate over 2 years.Level of Evidence:Level II - prognostic study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e716-e719
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • SRS-22
  • Scheuermann
  • appearance
  • kyphosis
  • pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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