USPSTF Releases Recommendation on Scoliosis Screening

There is currently not enough evidence to evaluate the balance of benefits and harms of screening for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in children and adolescents aged 10 to 18 years, according to a recent recommendation statement from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

A screening recommendation for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis was first released by the USPSTF in 2004. In order to update these recommendations, the USPSTF reviewed existing evidence on the benefits and harms of screening for and treating the condition.
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However, members of the task force found no direct evidence on screening for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and health outcomes and no evidence on the harms of screening. They also found insufficient evidence regarding treatment with exercise and surgery.

Furthermore, despite finding adequate evidence that treatment with bracing may slow curvature progression in adolescents with mild or moderate curvature severity (Cobb angle of more than 40° to 50°), existing evidence on the relationship between reduction in spinal curvature during adolescence and long-term health outcomes during adulthood is insufficient.

Current evidence on the harms of treatment was also determined to be inadequate.

“The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in children and adolescents aged 10 to 18 years,” the authors wrote.

—Christina Vogt

Reference:

US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2018;319(2):165-172. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.19342.