Idiopathic scoliosis in man is believed to be related to the unique human sagittal profile. Patients with a thoracic scoliosis have a longer, more proximal, posteriorly inclined segment of the spine as compared to lumbar scoliosis and controls, whereas patients with a lumbar scoliosis have a more caudal, shorter and steeper posteriorly inclined segment. In 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, half of the patients develop a scoliosis that is very similar to idiopathic scoliosis and may serve as a model for the general population. In our center, all patients with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome older than 6 years receive standardized radiographic spine imaging every 2 years to screen for scoliosis. In this prospective proof-of-principle study the goal was to determine whether there are differences in sagittal alignment between patients that develop scoliosis vs. controls before the onset of scoliosis, and obtain data to perform a power calculation for future studies. To capture the sagittal shape of the spine into one risk factor for development for scoliosis, we combined relative length and magnitude of dorsal inclination into a new parameter: the posterior inclined triangle surface (PITS). We included 31 patients with initially straight spines, five developed a thoracic scoliosis and seven developed a (thoraco)lumbar scoliosis after a mean follow-up of 3.4 years. The PITS was considerably higher in the group that developed scoliosis as compared to the controls (59 vs 43). Based on this pilot study, we have identified a potential overall sagittal profile risk parameter for the development of idiopathic scoliosis.
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