Xin-Feng Li, Hai Li, Zu-De Liu, Li-Yang Dai

November 2008, Volume 17, Issue 11, pp 1431 - 1440 Review Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-008-0757-z

First Online: 28 August 2008

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a pathological entity of unknown etiology. The causes of osteoporosis or osteopenia in AIS remain undetermined. Whether poor bone quality is an etiologic factor remains controversial. To determine the correlation between low bone mineral status and AIS, a review of literature was performed. After a literature search from 1966 to June 2007 (using Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane DSR, ACP Journal Club, DARE, CCTR, CINAHL and hand searches of references) for studies regarding low bone mineral status and AIS, 20 studies meeting the inclusion criteria were reviewed in terms of the appropriateness of valuation technique, the validity of descriptive system, the number and type of respondents, and overall quality of the studies. Nearly all investigations demonstrated that low bone mineral density (BMD) was a generalized phenomenon and a systematic disorder in AIS. The prevalence of AIS with osteoporosis is approximately 20–38%. The follow-up studies indicated that osteopenia in patients with AIS may be a persistent phenomenon. BMD could be affected by the mechanical loading and lower bone mineral mass is always associated with lower bone strength. The spinal architecture associated with the osteopenia may aggravate the spinal deformity. However, with regard to the concave and convex femoral neck BMD values, and the correlation of BMD to scoliosis parameters, the results remain inconsistent. Bracing may not result in permanent loss of bone mineral mass. The effect of the eccentric tension–compression environments on BMD, the correlation of BMD with scoliosis parameters and the effect of bracing on BMD should be investigated further in prospective, randomized and longitudinal follow-up studies.

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