Genetic Testing Advances Scoliosis Care in Teens

September 18, 2013 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
Lititz, PA - A new genetic test can help determine a treatment plan for scoliosis in adolescent girls and boys. ScoliScore™, a genetic test measuring 23 different genetic markers, tells a family if their child is at high or low risk for a spinal curvature requiring surgery. The saliva-based test can be performed in a physician's office is covered by many insurance plans.

"A diagnosis of scoliosis can be a scary one for patients and their parents," says physician and scoliosis specialist Dr. Clayton Stitzel. "ScoliScore™ can take the guesswork out of treating scoliosis and provide relief for many families. It also helps doctors determine the most appropriate course of treatment for each individual child."

For physicians, continues Stitzel, ScoliScore™ can help map a more or less aggressive treatment plan depending on a patient's score of 1-200. "1 to 50 is considered low risk," says Stitzel, "these patients may not have to wear a brace and can avoid unnecessary risk to x-ray radiation exposure." An NIH study reported that scoliosis patients who received multiple x-rays had a mild increased risk of developing breast cancer later in life.

Scoliosis is often first diagnosed during the teen years at a back to school physical or sports physical. For many years, scoliosis treatment consisted of watching and waiting, rigid back bracing for 23 hours a day for many years, or spinal surgery, depending on the degree of spinal curve, but scoliosis exercise based programs, like Scoliosis BootCamp™ have gain popularity in recent years. "For patients who have a high ScoliScore™, physicians can develop a treatment plan in an attempt to avoid spinal fusion surgery and maintain a patient's quality of life," adds Stitzel.

For more information on scoliosis, please visit or contact the Lancaster Spinal Health Center at (866)627-3009.