About half the states in the country require and pay for adolescents to get screened for scoliosis in schools. There have recently been renewed efforts to have more states conduct school screenings.
"Early screening does pick up some scoliosis in the early stages, but it is controversial because some feel it is not cost effective... We feel it is important to catch the disease early," says Dr. Michael Vitale who co-authored an informational statement about screening for scoliosis in adolescents, published in the January, 2008 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. Dr. Vitale is the Director of Pediatric Spine Surgery at the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, and a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that makes the spine look more like an "S" or "C" than a straight "I." If caught early, a small curvature of the spine can be monitored and corrected with a brace. However, if left too long, a larger curvature may develop and require surgery.
Until now legislators have waded through scores of pros and cons about scoliosis screening in schools to form their own conclusions. Now four major medical associations have joined forces to get the word out about the importance of screening in schools, giving lawmakers the information they need to make good decisions. Those groups include The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS), the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). All see the value in school screening for early detection.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
9400 West Higgins Road
Rosemont, IL 60018