Objective: The aims of this study were to compare the speed-of-sound (SOS) between adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients and controls using quantitative ultrasound examination and to further analyze the relationship between the SOS and curve type, curve magnitude, maturation status and Risser's sign in AIS patients compared to controls.
Methods: Seventy-eight female AIS patients and 58 healthy female controls 10 to 16 years of age were recruited to participate. Quantitative ultrasound measurements were performed at the non-dominant distal end of the radius. The standard method for estimating the SOS and z-score was used. Comparisons were made between the SOS values and z-score in AIS patients and age-matched Asian adolescents.
Results: The SOS values of the patients were significantly lower than the controls (P < .01). The percentage of cases with low bone quality was 25% in the entire AIS sample. The prevalence of low bone quality in AIS patients was 20.5%. However, there were no correlations between the SOS and types of scoliosis (P > .05). The SOS values among different severity groups were significant, particularly between the 10° to 19° and 20° to 39° groups as well as between 10° to 19° and ≥40° groups. However, there was no significant correlation between the SOS and Cobb angles. Significant correlations were also found between the pre- and post-menarchy status in patients. There was a significant difference in the SOS values for different Rissers’ signs (P < .05).
Conclusions: Compared to nonscoliotic controls, subjects with AIS had a generally lower SOS, indicating lower bone quality. The age, Risser’s sign, or maturation status, may have an effect on the bone quality; however, the curve type and magnitude do not affect the bone quality. The results of this study indicate that slower bone maturation may affect the bone quality in adolescents with AIS.
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