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Open Access Highly Accessed Case Report

Clinical improvement and radiological progression in a girl with early onset scoliosis (EOS) treated conservatively – a case report

Hans-Rudolf Weiss

Author Affiliations

Asklepios Katharina Schroth Spinal Deformities Rehabilitation Centre, Bad Sobernheim, Germany

Scoliosis 2006, 1:13  doi:10.1186/1748-7161-1-13

Published: 26 July 2006

Abstract

Background

Chêneau-Brace treatment of a certain standard reduces the rate of surgery, prevents progression and in a certain patient population leads to marked improvement of Cobb angle and cosmetic appearance. During the last two years a patient refusing surgery with a double major curvature of initially 60° showed a clear cosmetic improvement and a clear radiological progression at the same time. The findings of this patient have been reviewed in order to find out how cosmetic appearance and Cobb angle can develop differently.

Methods

The patient entered conservative treatment at the age of 13 years, premenarchial with Tanner II and a Cobb angle of 60° thoracic and 59° lumbar. The angle of trunk rotation (ATR; Scoliometer) was 13° thoracic and 13° lumbar. We have documented the findings of this patient (Surface topography, ATR, Cobb angles and angles of vertebral rotation (according to Raimondi) during the treatment period (27 Month) until 2 years after the onset of menarche.

Results

After a treatment time of 27 Month the Cobb angle increased to 74° thoracic and 65° lumbar. The angles of vertebral rotation according to Raimondi increased slightly from 26° thoracic and 28° lumbar to 30° thoracic and 28° lumbar. The ATR improved to 12° thoracic and 5° lumbar while Lateral deviation improved from 22,4 mm to 4,6 mm and average surface rotation improved from 10,6° to 6°. In the X-rays a reduction of decompensation was visible. The patient felt comfortable with the cosmetic result.

Conclusion

Conservative treatment may improve cosmetic appearance while the curve progresses radiologically. This could be explained by assuming that (1) the Rigo Chêneau brace is able to improve cosmetic appearance by changing the shape of the thorax when the curve itself is too stiff to be corrected by a brace, that (2) reduction of decompensation leads to significant cosmetical improvements or (3) that the patient gained weight and therefore the deformation is masked. However, the weight the patient gained cannot explain the cosmetical improvement in this case.

Conservative treatment with a certain standard of quality seems a viable alternative for patients with Cobb angles of > 60° when surgical treatment is refused.

Specialists in scoliosis management should be aware of the fact that curve progression can occur even if the clinical measurements show an improvement.