Progression of untreated mild thoracic Scheuermann's kyphosis - Radiographic and functional assessment after mean follow-up of 46 years

J Orthop Sci. 2017 Jul;22(4):652-657. doi: 10.1016/j.jos.2017.03.009. Epub 2017 Apr 15.


Background: There is no data available on the radiographic development of the Scheuermann's deformity. Our purpose was to investigate radiographic deformity progression and the relation between kyphosis progression and clinical outcome in patients with untreated Scheuermann's kyphosis.

Methods: Thoracic kyphosis (Th4-Th12) was measured from standing lateral radiographs in 19 patients at baseline and after mean 46-year follow-up. Mean age at baseline was 19.2 and at follow-up 64.7 years. At follow-up, height, weight, hand grip strength, and hamstring tightness were measured, and sit-to-stand and walking tests were performed. Additionally general health and quality of life questionnaires were administered.

Results: The mean thoracic kyphosis increased from 46° (range 25°-78°) at baseline to 60° (34°-82°) (p < 0.001) at follow-up. Mean of the vertebrae wedge increased from 8.8° to 9.9° (p = 0.046). There was no correlation between extent of kyphosis progression and function at follow-up.

Conclusions: Among patients with Scheuermann's disease the degree of radiographic deformity progressed slightly during long-term follow-up. Progression did not predict symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Recovery of Function
  • Scheuermann Disease / complications
  • Scheuermann Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Scheuermann Disease / physiopathology*
  • Thoracic Vertebrae*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult