The natural history and long-term follow-up of Scheuermann kyphosis

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1993 Feb;75(2):236-48. doi: 10.2106/00004623-199302000-00011.


Sixty-seven patients who had a diagnosis of Scheuermann kyphosis and a mean angle of kyphosis of 71 degrees were evaluated after an average follow-up of thirty-two years (range, ten to forty-eight years) after the diagnosis. All sixty-seven patients completed a questionnaire; fifty-four had a physical examination and radiographs; fifty-two, pulmonary function testing; and forty-five, strength-testing of the trunk muscles. The results were compared with those in a control group of thirty-four subjects who were matched for age and sex. The patients who had Scheuermann kyphosis had more intense back pain, jobs that tended to have lower requirements for activity, less range of motion of extension of the trunk and less-strong extension of the trunk, and different localization of the pain. No significant differences between the patients and the control subjects were demonstrated for level of education, number of days absent from work because of low-back pain, extent that the pain interfered with activities of daily living, presence of numbness in the lower extremities, self-consciousness, self-esteem, social limitations, use of medication for back pain, or level of recreational activities. Also, the patients reported little preoccupation with their physical appearance. Normal or above-normal averages for pulmonary function were found in patients in whom the kyphosis was less than 100 degrees. Patients in whom the kyphosis was more than 100 degrees and the apex of the curve was in the first to eighth thoracic segments had restrictive lung disease. Five patients had an unexplained, mildly abnormal neurological examination. Mild scoliosis was common; spondylolisthesis was not observed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Back Pain / etiology
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kyphosis / chemically induced
  • Kyphosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Kyphosis / physiopathology*
  • Kyphosis / psychology
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Muscles / physiopathology
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Radiography
  • Self Concept
  • Smoking
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Thorax