A new position statement about scoliosis, revised in light of new research, has recently been released.

Together, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA), and the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) released the joint position statement, “Screening for the Early Detection of Idiopathic Scoliosis in Adolescents.”

The statement strongly supports timely screening and appropriate treatment to halt or minimize further curvature of the spine, according to a media release from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

The position statement was revised in light of recent research confirming the effectiveness of early and appropriate treatment for scoliosis. Called the “Bracing in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis trial (BrAIST)” the multi-center, National Institutes of Health-funded study performed in 2013 documented significant success in preventing spinal curve progression and surgery in children who were screened, diagnosed, and treated with a custom brace, according to the release.

“The BrAIST study provided high-quality evidence that bracing for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis can decrease the rate of progression of spinal curve to the surgical level,” says M. Timothy Hresko, MD, co-author of the revised statement, in the release.

“Early detection of scoliosis is essential to identifying patients who may benefit from the use of a spinal brace. The new, 2016 joint position statement—released jointly by four prominent child health organizations—reflects the importance of early scoliosis detection,” he adds.

Per the release, the revised statements recommends that: Screening examinations for spine deformity be part of medical home preventive care visits for girls at age 10 and age 12, and for boys, once at age 13 or 14; and that screening programs have well-trained personnel who can appropriately administer forward bending tests, and the use of a scoliometer, to correctly measure and identify abnormal spine curvature, and to refer patients for additional tests and imaging as needed.

In addition, the position statement recommends that: Any imaging tests adhere to the principles of ALARA (As Low as Reasonably Achievable) standards to minimize radiation exposure in young patients; and that bracing is an effective non-operative intervention to reduce the risk of progression to surgical treatment.

[Source(s): American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, PR Newswire]