Serial casting for early onset scoliosis and its effects on health-related quality of life during and after discontinuation of treatment

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Spine Deformity




24-Item Early Onset Scoliosis Questionnaire (EOSQ-24); Early onset scoliosis (EOS); Health-related quality of life (HRQoL); Serial body casting


© 2020, Scoliosis Research Society. Introduction: Serial body casting plays an important role in the treatment of early onset scoliosis (EOS), serving as a safer method compared to surgical intervention. There is no published evidence documenting the impact of casting on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of patients and their caregivers. The purpose of this study was to utilize the 24-Item Early Onset Scoliosis Questionnaire (EOSQ-24) to compare the HRQoL of patients with EOS and the burden of care for their caregivers before, during, and after treatment with Mehta casting. Methods: In this multicenter retrospective cohort study, two EOS databases were queried for patients with EOS who underwent serial casting from 2005 to 2016. Patients who had treatment prior to their initial cast application, including bracing or surgical intervention, were excluded from the study. Patients were stratified into two subgroups and analyzed separately: those with idiopathic etiology, and those with non-idiopathic etiology. HRQoL and burden of care were assessed using the EOSQ-24 completed before, during, and after cast treatment. Results: 91 patients were identified in this study (mean age at the index casting: 2.1 ± 1.2 years, mean age at final cast removal: 4.1 ± 1.3 years). 59 (64.8%) had EOS of idiopathic etiology, while 32 (35.2%) had EOS of non-idiopathic etiology, including 10 congenital, 6 neuromuscular, and 16 syndromic. Idiopathic patients and non-idiopathic patients experienced an improvement in the coronal deformity from 45° pre-cast to 26° post-cast, and from 59° pre-cast to 34° post-cast, respectively. Patients with idiopathic scoliosis experienced a decrease from baseline in nearly all EOSQ-24 sub-domain scores except for general health. Furthermore, even after the removal of the cast, patients with idiopathic etiology suffered residual negative effects of casting on emotion and transfer sub-domains. Among patients with non-idiopathic etiology, decreased scores from baseline were observed only in transfer and emotion sub-domains during the casting intervention. After brace removal, patients with non-idiopathic etiology had increased scores compared to their baseline scores in most sub-domains. Discussion: Serial body casting can prevent curve correction in patients with EOS. However, the psychosocial stresses secondary to this non-operative intervention can have significant negative impacts on HRQoL for both idiopathic and non-idiopathic patients during the course of treatment. Although non-idiopathic patients experience improved HRQoL following treatment, idiopathic patients do not seem to exhibit much improvement in HRQoL from baseline even years after the final cast removal.

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