Medtronic and the Scoliosis Research Society launched Spine Check - a new program designed to help promote scoliosis screenings for middle school and junior high school students.
The Scoliosis Research Society (SRS), one of the world’s premier spine societies, and Medtronic are supporting the Spine Check program to help improve the overall spinal health of students. Because of a commitment to research and education in the field of spinal deformities, the organizations are working together to generate awareness of the condition, while offering resources to empower school nurses to perform screenings. Related content is also available to surgeons and other practitioners for use in facilitating community education.
“In the United States, less than half of the 50 states currently legislate school screening. The purpose of school screening is to detect scoliosis at an early stage when the curve is mild and may even go unnoticed,” said Lawrence Lenke, MD, Jerome J. Gilden Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and professor of neurosurgery at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, and vice president of the SRS. “As a child matures and becomes more modest, parents may have fewer opportunities to view the child’s back to notice a change.”
Scoliosis is a condition that occurs when the spine curves from side-to-side - often twisting the body. Of every 1,000 children in the population, three to five will develop some degree of scoliosis. i While most cases are minor, some 27,000 cases each year are so severe that surgery may be required to treat the condition. Yet experts say school screening is key to detecting scoliosis at an early stage when the deformity is mild and likely to otherwise go unnoticed. It is at this early stage that bracing programs may be effective at halting progression of the deformity and, in turn, at preventing the need for surgical treatment.
“Girls achieve skeletal maturity about two years before boys do and are afflicted with scoliosis that requires treatment three to four times more frequently than boys. Ideally, spinal screening should be conducted annually during the adolescent growth spurt (ages nine to 15 years), but time and personnel constraints may prohibit yearly screenings. So, if scoliosis screening is undertaken, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Scoliosis Research Society, Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, and American Academy of Pediatrics all agree that girls should be screened twice, at ages 10 and 12 years (grades five and seven), and boys once, at age 13 or 14 years (grades eight or nine),” said Kathy Blanke, registered nurse, Spinal Deformity Service, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine.
“Parents and children are often scared when facing a scoliosis diagnosis. iScoliosis.com is a family-friendly Web site designed to provide parents and children with information about scoliosis in a warm, non-threatening format. The SRS also makes additional educational information and the latest research on scoliosis available at SRS.org,” said Dr. Lenke.
To learn more about the Spine Check program, or for nurses to request a kit for their schools.
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i - “National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Questions and Answers about Scoliosis in Children and Adolescents.
Published July 2001. Accessed August 12, 2008.
ii - U.S. Census Bureau. U.S. Interim Projections by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin.
Published March 2004. Accessed August 12, 2008.
iii - National Inpatient Profile. Chicago, IL: SMG Marketing Group Inc; 2000.