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January 9, 2018

Evolving Recommendations for Scoliosis Screening: A Compelling Need for Further Research

Author Affiliations
  • 1Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2Academic General Pediatrics and Primary Care, Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA. 2018;319(2):127-129. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.20190

Medical professionals have advocated for screening for idiopathic scoliosis among asymptomatic adolescents for the last century, and school-based screening has been advocated in the United States since the early 1960s.1 Scoliosis, defined as a lateral curvature of the spine of 10° or more that is not attributable to an underlying condition, is estimated to affect as many as 3% of youth aged 10 to 17 years in the United States (an estimated approximately 1.4 million individuals).2 However, in 2004 the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reviewed published evidence and issued a “D” grade recommending against routine screening of asymptomatic adolescents for idiopathic scoliosis.3 At that time, the USPSTF based its recommendation on a general lack of direct evidence about the benefits and harms of screening.

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