Despite a validated classification system, high-quality multicenter research databases (CSSG/GSSG), and a recent proliferation in publications, early-onset scoliosis (EOS) surgeons have no consensus on standards for surgical treatment. The 21st-century revolution in EOS care has only accelerated, with the arrival of a classification system, magnetically controlled growing rod, nusinersen, and improved nonoperative care (Mehta or Risser casting and compliance-monitored braces). This dizzying pace of change may have outstripped our ability to develop best-practice standards for EOS surgical indications. To learn where consensus is best (and worst) at this moment, we surveyed EOS world thought-leaders on a collection of representative cases.
A 6-case survey was constructed and sent to 20 EOS world thought-leaders. The cases were selected to be representative of the major treatment categories: idiopathic, neuromuscular, syndromic, congenital, thoracic dysplasia, and spinal muscular atrophy (specifically to assess the impact of nusinersen and parasol deformity on surgical planning). Respondents were queried regarding treatment with specific attention to instrumentation and construct when surgery was selected. Responses regarding surgical timing and technique were analyzed for consensus (defined as >80%). χ2 analysis was performed to evaluate for differences in treatment preferences based on years of experience.
The survey response was 100%. Clinical experience ranged from 8 to 40 years (average 23.9 y). There was no consensus on any case. The greatest variability was on the congenital case; the closest to consensus was on the spinal muscular atrophy case. Three or more approaches were selected for all 6 cases; >4 approaches were selected for 5 cases. There is a trend towards screw fixation for proximal anchors. The management of thoracic dysplasia and parasol deformity is far from consensus.
The lack of consensus for surgical treatment of 6 representative EOS cases demands a renewed effort and commitment to develop best-practice guidelines based on multicenter outcome data.
Level of Evidence:
Level V—Expert Opinion.