Research Review: The prevalence of adult de novo scoliosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

By Rosemary Marchese, Physiotherapist 

What was the aim of the authors?

Adult Rehab

McAviney and colleagues (2020) sought to determine the prevalence of adult de novo scoliosis, particularly because life expectancy in humans is increasing (1). This primary degenerative scoliosis represents a new scoliosis developing in patients with no prior history of spinal curvature.

What did the authors find?

This systematic review and meta-analysis included four cross-sectional studies and one cohort study with 4069 participants in total. Approximately 67% of these participants were female. The results were:

  • Females were more likely to suffer from scoliosis than males (42% versus 28%)
  • Individuals aged less than 60 years of age had a prevalence of 13%
  • Prevalence of this type of scoliosis was highest in the participants aged greater than 60 years (36%).

Take home message

Primary degenerative scoliosis is a highly prevalent condition. Females are much more likely to suffer from this type of scoliosis than males. Given human life expectancy is increasing, health professionals need to be well aware of the fact that many of their older patients may have scoliosis, or be at risk of scoliosis. The authors suggested that further research in this area is required to understand the influence of age and sex on the prevalence of de novo scoliosis.

Reference: 

  1. McAviney, J., Roberts, C., Sullivan, B. et al. The prevalence of adult de novo scoliosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur Spine J 29, 2960–2969 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00586-020-06453-0

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