Surface Topography Can Assess Improvements in QoL Following Scoliosis Surgery Interview with:

Baron  Lonner, MD Professor of Orthopaedics Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Lonner

Baron  Lonner, MD
Professor of Orthopaedics
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: 2-3% of adolescents have idiopathic scoliosis and 1 in 10 of these individuals will require surgery to correct severe scoliosis which if left untreated can lead to back pain and disability as well as pulmonary (breathing) problems later in life. For the adolescent with curvatures that require surgical treatment, body image and self esteem are big issues as they are for all adolescents going through their developmental stages.

Scoliosis has an impact on body shape, which is seen by the affected individual looking in the mirror as well as by their peers and those around them. This can lead to self esteem and body image disturbance issues. We set out to explore the body shape distortions that occur with scoliosis, that are not depicted by x-rays that are standardly used to assess curvatures of the spine, and the improvements in parameters of body shape that occur with corrective surgery. We can assess body shape directly through surface topography imaging, that is light-based, thus, not involving x-ray exposure. This technology (Diers Formetrics) uses the same scientific methodology that is used to create modern topographical maps through satellite imagery. We found dramatic improvements in body shape asymmetry with surgery that correlated with some improvements in quality of life for the adolescent in this cohort of 23 patients as well as with the improvements in curvatures evaluated by x-rays. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: This approach, the use of this technology, will provide those of us who treat scoliosis patients with information that can be used to counsel patients and their families about the improvements in their body shape that can be expected with surgery and use this to modify corrective strategies as needed to improve body shape and by extension, self-image of the patient. Over longer term follow up, we will show how these improvements correlate with quality of life indicators for the individual. 

Surgery for scoliosis is effective in improving the body shape distortions that are caused by the scoliosis. Not only is the spine corrected, but the patient’s body symmetry is restored to a great extent and this can be evaluated with the surface topography technology we utilized. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: We are in the processing of assessing the distortions of body shape in the frontal view (what the patient directly sees in the mirror) and the body shape improvements of those asymmetries. We have collected information on over 50 patients already and intend on collecting this data on all patients going forward.

Disclosures: Dr. Lonner is the President of the Surface Topography Study Group


AAOS 2018 abstract: Changes in Body Shape Following Surgical Correction in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Surface Topography Changes are Associated with Improvements in Health-Related Quality of Life




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Last Updated on March 19, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD