Evaluation of angle trunk rotation measurements to improve quality and safety in the management of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Jill E. Larson, Maximilian A. Meyer, Barrett Boody, John F. Sarwark*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: The evaluation, management and follow-up of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) occur frequently within a pediatric orthopedic surgery practice. Curve status can be assessed with Scoliometer measurements of angle trunk rotation (ATR), which are reliable and reproducible to within 3°. This study assessed the longitudinal efficacy, safety and cost savings of integrating ATR measurements to monitor curve status and progression in AIS, and suggests a quality-based management strategy. Methods: A retrospective review of medical records between 2004 and 2014 included patients with AIS between 10–17 years, excluding those with Cobb angle >52° at presentation. Two cohorts were analyzed based on presentation prior to menarche (PRE) or after menarche (POST). The PRE groups was further classified based on whether the curve was Stable or Unstable. The cost of a single PA thoracolumbar radiograph was defined based on the 2015 CMS fee schedule ($36.27). Safety was defined based on the effective radiation dose avoided (0.14 millisieverts/radiograph). Results: A total of 59 children were included with 45 in PRE and 14 in the POST cohort. The use of ATR measurements provided a cost benefit in both the PRE Stable and Unstable cohorts, by avoiding radiographs with an average savings of $161.76 and $147.50 respectively. Similarly in POST, there was an average cost savings of $105.18 per patient. The safety benefit of using ATR measurements included avoiding an average of 0.62, 0.56 and 0.4 millisieverts of radiation in the PRE Stable, PRE Unstable and POST groups respectively. Conclusions: An evaluation strategy with ATR measurements provides for a reliable, cost-effective and safety advantage in the monitoring of curve progression in both skeletally mature and immature patients with AIS. These findings suggest that stable ATR measurements are a safe and cost effective alternative to serial radiographs in the clinical monitoring of AIS. Recent evidence from 25 years of scoliosis treatment in Denmark noted a cancer rate 17 times that of an age-matched population. Thus, reducing radiation exposure during scoliosis monitoring using ATR measurements has important clinical significance for cancer risk reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-565
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Orthopaedics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  • Angle trunk rotation
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Safety
  • Scolimeter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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