OBJECTIVE: Two cases are discussed to illustrate two different presentations, progressions and treatments of Scheuermann's juvenile kyphosis.
CLINICAL FEATURES: In one case, a 13-yr-old boy suffered from a 2-yr history of lower back pain. Radiographs demonstrated irregularity of the upper lumbar vertebral endplates, associated with Schmorl's nodes. The second case is one of a 14-yr-old boy who was seen in an orthopedic outpatient clinic. Radiographs revealed wedging of the anterior border of T6, T7, and T8 vertebrae with a thoracic spine kyphotic deformity measuring 72 degrees.
INTERVENTION AND OUTCOME: The first case was treated conservatively. The patient maintained his improvement at 6 month follow-up. The second case was initially treated with a brace that the patient did not wear regularly as directed. The kyphotic deformity progressed from 72 degrees to 92 degrees. An operation was performed to reduce the kyphotic curve and prevent further progression. On review 6 yr later, the patient was well without back pain or other complications. The kyphotic curve measured 65 degrees.
CONCLUSION: Scheuermann's juvenile kyphosis is a common spinal deformity in the adolescent. A radiographic appearance of wedging of the anterior portion of the vertebral bodies with marked kyphotic deformity suggests the diagnosis of classical Scheuermann's disease. However, the lumbar type of Scheuermann's disease should be considered in young patient with radiographic evidence of irregular vertebral endplates, Schmorl's nodes and a decreased disc space without wedging. Nevertheless, significant progression of the curve in both the typical and atypical types of Scheuermann's disease is rare, but can occur. An algorithm is presented to facilitate decision making in the management of Scheuermann's juvenile kyphosis.
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