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The Moe Maximal Correction Test to Determine True Curve Flexibility: A Historical Note With Current Application

Winter, Robert B. MD; Lonstein, John E. MD

doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181c65179
Historical Perspective

This is not a prospective randomized clinical trial or a consecutive case series, but rather the description of a technique developed years ago, but still applicable. As spine surgeons, we wish to know the true correctability of a curvature before determining the best method of treatment. Do we need to do a posterior surgery only? Do we need to do a combined anterior and posterior surgery? Do we need to place the patient in preoperative skeletal traction? Although many different techniques have been described for the determination of true curve flexibility, the Moe Maximal Correction Test has never before been described.

In dealing with large scoliosis, the surgeon has to make a decision whether the best procedure is a single approach, a combined anterior/posterior approach, a vertebral column resection, or a period of skeletal traction before surgery. It is not only the magnitude of the curve but also the inherent flexibility of the curve that enters into that decision. Of all tests for curve flexibility, the Moe Maximal Correction Test gives the most definitive answer because it combines both maximal traction and maximal lateral forces.

From the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minnesota; and Twin Cities Spine Center, Minneapolis, MN.

Acknowledgment date: December 4, 2008. Acceptance date: September 14, 2009.

The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).

No funds were received in support of this work. No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Robert B. Winter, MD, Twin Cities Spine Center, Suite #600, Piper Building, 513 E. 26th St., Minneapolis, MN 55404; E-mail: or

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.