Combined anterior-posterior (AP) surgery is considered the gold standard for surgical treatment of Scheuermann kyphosis. There are trends toward posterior-only (PO) surgery for correcting this deformity because of the availability of multisegmental compression instruments and posterior shortening osteotomy. To date, surgical strategies for Scheuermann kyphosis remain controversial. The purpose of this study was to compare various surgical approaches for the treatment of Scheuermann kyphosis, including radiological correction and intraoperative outcomes, using a systematic review and meta-analysis.
A comprehensive database search of PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library was performed to identify studies concerning Scheuermann kyphosis. The inclusion criteria were direct comparisons between AP and PO surgeries for Scheuermann kyphosis and assessment of the angle of thoracic kyphosis preoperatively and postoperatively. The authors used the principles of a cumulative meta-analysis by updating the pooled estimate of the treatment effect.
Data from 13 studies involving 1147 participants (542 patients in the AP group and 605 patients in the PO group) were included. The average age was 18.2 years for the AP and 17.9 years for the PO group. The overall mean difference of changes in thoracic kyphosis angles between the AP and PO surgeries was 0.23° (95% CI −2.24° to 2.71°). In studies in which posterior shortening osteotomies were not performed, PO surgery resulted in a significantly low degree of correction of thoracic kyphosis, with a mean difference of 5.59° (95% CI 0.34°–10.83°). Studies in which osteotomies were performed revealed that the angle of correction for PO surgery was comparable to that of AP surgery. Regardless of fixation methods, PO surgical approaches achieved comparable angles.
PO surgery using posterior osteotomies can achieve correction of Scheuermann kyphosis as successfully as AP surgery does. Reflecting the advancement of surgical technology, large prospective studies are necessary to identify the proper treatments for Scheuermann kyphosis.