The early detection and treatment of scoliosis is essential to minimize the affects of this condition and provide patients with healthcare options that are less expensive, less painful and less invasive. Most scoliosis spine specialists agree that surgery should be a last resort and efforts should be taken to keep the curve from reaching 45 degrees.
We need a much more aggressive standard however. It is in the best interest of our adolescent patients to replace the generally accepted wait and see approach with an effective non-operative treatment intervention plan. While there are many unknowns and questions about the effect of, and treatment for, scoliosis there certainly is no evidence to suggest that there is a benefit to a curve getting larger. Furthermore, if bony vertebral deformity begins to develop around 30 degrees, and the probability of continued curve progression in adulthood begins to rise at this level as well, then our focus should be on minimizing the magnitude of the curve in the early stages with a goal of keeping it as much below 30 degrees as possible. In order to achieve this goal however we need significantly more multidisciplinary research and coordination to develop and validate a more effective early intervention treatment plan.