Scoliosis and Prognosis-a systematic review regarding patient-specific and radiological predictive factors for curve progression

Eur Spine J. 2021 Jul;30(7):1813-1822. doi: 10.1007/s00586-021-06817-0. Epub 2021 Mar 26.


Introduction: Idiopathic scoliosis, defined as a > 10° curvature of the spine in the frontal plane, is one of the most common spinal deformities. Age, initial curve magnitude and other parameters define whether a scoliotic deformity will progress or not. Still, their interactions and amounts of individual contribution are not fully elaborated and were the aim of this systematic review.

Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted in the common databases using MESH terms, searching for predictive factors of curve progression in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis ("adolescent idiopathic scoliosis" OR "ais" OR "idiopathic scoliosis") AND ("predictive factors" OR "progression" OR "curve progression" OR "prediction" OR "prognosis"). The identified and analysed factors of each study were rated to design a top five scale of the most relevant factors.

Results: Twenty-eight investigations with 8255 patients were identified by literature search. Patient-specific risk factors for curve progression from initial curve were age (at diagnosis < 13 years), family history, bone mineral status (< 110 mg/cm3 in quantitative CT) and height velocity (7-8 cm/year, peak 11.6 ± 1.4 years). Relevant radiological criteria indicating curve progression included skeletal maturity, marked by Risser stages (Risser < 1) or Sanders Maturity Scale (SMS < 5), the initial extent of the Cobb angle (> 25° progression) and curve location (thoracic single or double curve).

Discussion: This systematic review summarised the current state of knowledge as the basis for creation of patient-specific algorithms regarding a risk calculation for a progressive scoliotic deformity. Curve magnitude is the most relevant predictive factor, followed by status of skeletal maturity and curve location.

Keywords: Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; Curve location; Curve progression; Risk factors; Skeletal maturity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scoliosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Spine