Scheuermann kyphosis is a structural deformity of the thoracic or thoracolumbar spine that develops prior to puberty and deteriorates during adolescence. There is limited information on its natural history but many patients are expected to have a benign course. Severe kyphosis can progress into adult life and cause significant deformity and debilitating back pain. Conservative treatment includes bracing and physical therapy, but although widely prescribed they have not been scientifically validated. Surgical treatment may be considered in the presence of a progressive kyphosis producing severe pain resistant to conservative measures, neurological compromise, or unacceptable deformity. This is associated with significant risks of major complications that should be discussed with the patients and their families. Modern techniques allow better correction of the deformity through posterior-only surgery with lower complication rates. Simultaneous shortening of the posterior vertebral column across the apical levels, along with spinal cord monitoring, reduces the risk of neurological deficits.
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