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Re:Idiopathic Juvenile Scoliosis & Surgery
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 4:35 PM
There are now two separate literature reviews conducted by independent authors (Weiss 2008 and Westrick 2011) which both come to the conclusion that there is no medical indication for scoliosis surgery, and no long-term research proving a superior outcome to natural history.
In regards to the financial aspects, in a study entitled "Does the outcome of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis surgery justify the rising cost of the procedure?" published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics in 2011, Roach and his colleagues stated, "Patient outcomes when the latest, most expensive implants are used are not significantly different from outcomes when older, less-expensive implants are used. Patient outcomes have not improved in proportion to the increase in costs. Outcomes from the newest, all pedicle screw constructs are not significantly better than outcomes from the older, less-expensive hybrid constructs."
Parents of children with scoliosis have a right to know about these research findings before they make a decision which will have life-long consequences for their son or daughter. As doctors of the spine concerned with natural, holistic healing, chiropractors are in an ideal position to share this knowledge and promote alternative treatment strategies.
I'm pleased and encouraged to see this article challenging conventional wisdom, promoting these new research findings, and encouraging chiropractors to get more involved with scoliosis. Keep up the great work!
Dr. Josh Woggon
This is a very good article that raises a very compelling question: is the decision to perform spinal surgery for scoliosis influenced by sociopolitical factors, more than the financial considerations or the long-term health implications for the patient?