Health-related quality of life in patients 40 years after diagnosis of an idiopathic scoliosis


AIMS: Only a few studies have investigated the long-term health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with an idiopathic scoliosis. The aim of this study was to investigate the overall HRQoL and employment status of patients with an idiopathic scoliosis 40 years after diagnosis, to compare it with that of the normal population, and to identify possible predictors for a better long-term HRQoL.

METHODS: We reviewed the full medical records and radiological reports of patients referred to our hospital with a scoliosis of childhood between April 1972 and April 1982. Of 129 eligible patients with a juvenile or adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, 91 took part in the study (71%). They were evaluated with full-spine radiographs and HRQoL questionnaires and compared with normative data. We compared the HRQoL between observation (n = 27), bracing (n = 46), and surgical treatment (n = 18), and between thoracic and thoracolumbar/lumbar (TL/L) curves.

RESULTS: The mean time to follow-up was 40.8 years (SD 2.6) and the mean age of patients was 54.0 years (SD 2.7). Of the 91 patients, 86 were female (95%) and 51 had a main thoracic curve (53%). We found a significantly lower HRQoL measured on all the Scoliosis Research Society 22r instrument (SRS-22r) subdomains (p < 0.001) with the exception of mental health, than in an age-matched normal population. Incapacity to work was more prevalent in scoliosis patients (21%) than in the normal population (11%). The median SRS-22r subscore was 4.0 (interquartile range (IQR) 3.3 to 4.4) for TL/L curves and 4.1 (IQR 3.8 to 4.4) for thoracic curves (p = 0.300). We found a significantly lower self-image score for braced (median 3.6 (IQR 3.0 to 4.0)) and surgically treated patients (median 3.6 (IQR 3.2 to 4.3)) than for those treated by observation (median 4.0 (IQR 4.1 to 4.8); p = 0.010), but no statistically significant differences were found for the remaining subdomains.

CONCLUSION: In this long-term follow-up study, we found a significantly decreased HRQoL and capacity to work in patients with an idiopathic scoliosis 40 years after diagnosis.Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2023;105-B(2):166-171.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe bone & joint journal
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)166-171
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Adolescent
  • Braces
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Scoliosis/diagnostic imaging


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