How is Scheuermann disease (juvenile kyphosis) treated?

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

The treatment of Scheuermann's disease is controversial. [5, 6] Some authors think that the natural history of thoracic Scheuermann's disease is benign and that therefore the condition needs no treatment. Whether orthotics or surgical treatments prevent any of the consequences that may occur is uncertain.

Some authors recommend treatment in the skeletally immature patient in the hope of preventing excessive deformity, which may cause pain and cosmetic concerns. Patients with mild, nonprogressive disease can be treated by reducing weight-bearing stress and avoiding strenuous activity. Exercise alone is not found to be beneficial.

When the kyphosis is more severe, recommendations include casting, a spinal brace, or rest and recumbency on a rigid bed. Orthotic management of Scheuermann's disease usually requires 12-24 months of treatment.

In a 2003 report on one type of brace for the treatment of Scheuermann's disease (evaluated at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children), it was recommended that the orthosis be worn until skeletal maturity (at least 16 mo), in order to induce improvement or halt progression of the disease. [21] The results for this brace were comparable to previous reports discussing the effectiveness of the modified Milwaukee brace, and the duPont kyphosis brace had the advantage of being concealable under normal attire.


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