What is the mortality and morbidity associated with Scheuermann disease (juvenile kyphosis)?

Updated: Sep 08, 2020
  • Author: Jozef E Nowak, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA  more...
  • Print

Many authors believe that there are few adverse long-term sequelae of Scheuermann's disease, despite a paucity of available natural history data. Lowe suggests that if residual kyphosis remains less than 60º at skeletal maturity, the patient has an excellent prognosis for minimal problems in adult life.

Pain may be present but generally ceases when growth is complete. Minimal spinal malalignment may persist when the disorder becomes quiescent. Early development of marginal osteophytes may occur. Acute myelopathy secondary to cord compression at the apex of the thoracic kyphosis has been reported.

Using the exercise tolerance test, a prospective, comparative study by Lorente et al found that adolescent Scheuermann’s disease patients with kyphosis of over 75° displayed significant respiratory inefficiency, with ventilation capacity and maximum oxygen uptake being lower than in healthy controls. [17]

A study by Liu et al suggested that a link exists between Scheuermann’s disease and thoracolumbar disk herniation (disk herniation between T10/11 and L1/2). The investigators found that the radiographic signs of Scheuermann’s disease, as well as the diagnosis of Scheuermann’s disease itself, were significantly more prevalent in the 63 patients in the study with symptomatic thoracolumbar disk herniation than they were in a group of 57 patients who underwent surgery for lower lumbar disk herniation. Moreover, in the patients with thoracolumbar disk herniation, the herniation was significantly more prevalent at segments displaying the radiographic signs of Scheuermann’s disease than at segments that did not. [18]


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!