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Morphologic Discrimination Among Healthy Subjects and Patients With Progressive and Nonprogressive Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

LeBlanc, Richard, MSc*†; Labelle, Hubert, MD; Forest, Francis, DSc; Poitras, Benoit, MD


Study Design. A prospective and controlled comparative study.

Objectives. To identify variables that would allow discrimination among patients with progressive adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, patients with nonprogressive adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, and control subjects.

Summary of Background Data. In a previous study, the correlation was demonstrated between morphologic somatotypes and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Methods. One hundred forty-six subjects were evaluated anthropometrically and were classified according to their morphologic somatotype. Of these subjects, 52 were adolescent girls with progressive idiopathic scoliosis, whereas 32 girls had nonprogressive idiopathic scoliosis. The control group was composed of 62 healthy adolescent girls. Somatotype values for ectomorphism, mesomorphism, and endomorphism were obtained according to a technique based on Sheldon's method, and 77 anthropometric measurements of segments of the thorax, head, and limbs were taken.

Results. The discriminant analysis realized on a subset of 18 variables allowed the correct identification of each subject's group in 84% of the cases.

Conclusions. It is possible to differentiate healthy adolescent subjects, patients with nonprogressive adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, and patients with progressive idiopathic scoliosis by using anthropometric measurements and morphologic classification. These findings may be useful in the early detection of children at risk for progression of scoliosis and may allow earlier application of treatment methods without waiting for a significant increase in the curve.

From the *Program of Biomedical Sciences, Medical Faculty, and the ‡Department of Anthropology, Université de Montréal; and the †Division of Orthopedics, Hôpital Sainte-Justine, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

Funded by Le fond d'encouragement à la recherche clinique du Centre de Recherche de l'Hôpital Sainte-Justine.

Acknowledgment date: February 27, 1997.

First revision date: June 18, 1997.

Acceptance date: September 15, 1997.

Device status category: 1.

Address reprint requests to: Richard LeBlanc; Division of Orthopedics (Room 7903); Hôpital Sainte-Justine; 3175 Côte Sainte-Catherine; Montréal, Québec, H3T 1C5; Canada; E-mail:

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.