Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and spinal fusion do not substantially impact on postural balance.
SourceScoliosis, 10, (2015), pp. 18
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 3: Disorders of movement DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
BACKGROUND: The spinal curvature in patients with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) causes an asymmetry of upper body postural alignment, which might affect postural balance. However, the currently available studies on balance in AIS patients are not consistent. Furthermore, it is not known whether potential deficits are similar between patients with single and double curves. Finally, the effects of a corrective posterior spinal fusion on postural balance have not yet been well established. METHODS: Postural balance was tested on a force plate, in 26 female subjects with AIS (12-18 years old; preoperative Cobb-angle: 42-71 degrees ; single curve n = 18, double curve n = 6) preoperatively, at 3 months and 1 year postoperatively. We also conducted a balance assessment in 18 healthy age-matched female subjects. Subjects were tested during quiet double-leg standing in four conditions (eyes open/closed; foam/solid surface), while standing on one leg, while performing a dynamic balance (weight shifting) task and while performing a reaching task in four directions. RESULTS: AIS subjects did not demonstrate greater COP velocities than controls during the double-leg standing tasks. In the reaching task, however, they achieved smaller COP displacements than healthy controls, except in the anterior direction. AIS patients with double curves had significantly greater COP velocities in all test conditions compared to those with a single curve (p < 0.05). For the AIS group, a slight increase in COP velocities was observed in the foam eyes closed and right leg standing condition at 3 months post surgery. At 1-year post surgery, however, there were no significant differences in any of the outcome measures compared to the pre-surgery assessment, irrespective of the curve type. CONCLUSIONS: Postural balance in AIS patients scheduled for surgery was similar to healthy age matched controls, except for a poorer reaching capacity. The latter finding may be related to their reduced range of motion of the spine. Patients with double curves demonstrated poorer balance than those with a single curve, despite the fact that they have a more symmetrical trunk posture. Postural balance one year after surgery did not improve as a result of the better spinal alignment, neither did the reduced range of trunk motion inherent to fusion negatively affect postural balance.
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