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Minimum 5-Year Follow-up of Mehta Casting to Treat Idiopathic Early-Onset Scoliosis

Fedorak, Graham T. MD, FRCSC1,2; D’Astous, Jacques L. MD1,2; Nielson, Alexandra N. BSc2; MacWilliams, Bruce A. PhD1,2; Heflin, John A. MD1,2

doi: 10.2106/JBJS.18.01268
Scientific Articles

Background: With the exception of Mehta’s 2005 report on her experience treating early-onset scoliosis with serial casting, all subsequent studies have had limited follow-up. This current study sought to assess the results of serial casting at a minimum 5-year follow-up and to identify the predictors of the sustained resolution of scoliosis.

Methods: This study is a retrospective review of children treated for idiopathic early-onset scoliosis with serial casting at a children’s hospital between 2001 and 2013 with a minimum 5-year follow-up. A Cobb angle of ≤15° and a decrease in the Cobb angle of >20° at the most recent follow-up were separately assessed. The differences between groups based on these criteria were tested with Student t tests with alpha = 0.05.

Results: Fifty-four children were treated during the study period; of these, 38 had at least 5 years of follow-up and comprised the study sample. The mean follow-up (and standard deviation) was 8 ± 2 years (range, 5 to 13 years). The mean patient age at the time of the first cast was 24 ± 15.1 months (range, 9 to 63 months), with a mean Cobb angle of 56.2° ± 20.1° (range, 22° to 109°). Forty-nine percent of children had scoliosis of ≤15° at the time of the most recent follow-up, and 73% of children were improved by at least 20°. Children with ≤15° scoliosis, compared with children with >15° scoliosis, had significantly lower initial Cobb angle (48.2° compared with 63.7°; p = 0.016), supine traction Cobb angle (22.5° compared with 33.2°; p = 0.048), first-in-cast Cobb angle (24.1° compared with 37.6°; p = 0.01), and first-in-cast rib-vertebral angle difference (12.8° compared with 26.2°; p < 0.01). Age at the time of the first cast, initial rib-vertebral angle difference, flexibility, and body mass index were not significantly different (p > 0.05) between the groups. Three children who initially achieved scoliosis of ≤15° after casting substantially relapsed.

Conclusions: At a minimum follow-up of 5 years, the initial Cobb angle, first-cast Cobb angle, rib-vertebral angle difference, and traction Cobb angle were all predictive of sustained scoliosis of ≤15°. However, with continued growth, relapse of scoliosis was seen in 3 patients.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

1Shriners Hospitals for Children Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City, Utah

2University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

Email address for G.T. Fedorak:

Investigation performed at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City, Utah

Disclosure: The authors indicated that no external funding was received for any aspect of this work. On the Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest forms, which are provided with the online version of the article, one or more of the authors checked “yes” to indicate that the author had a relevant financial relationship in the biomedical arena outside the submitted work (

Copyright © 2019 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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