An initial effort to define an early onset scoliosis “graduate”—The Pediatric Spine Study Group experience

The Pediatric Spine Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Increasingly, patients with early onset scoliosis (EOS) are completing a growth friendly surgical program followed by observation, removal of implants or a definitive spinal fusion. These patients are colloquially referred to as “graduates”. A standardized definition of a graduate is needed for research and comparing the outcomes, family counseling, and a better understanding of the population. Methods: A 15-question electronic survey was completed by 39 experienced pediatric spine surgeons to identify factors salient to the definition of a graduate of EOS surgical programs. A Delphi/Nominal group technique session with nine questions was then performed face-to-face with 21 members of the Pediatric Spine Study Group to discuss and refine the definition. A follow-up electronic survey was then distributed to these same 21 members to gain consensus on the final definition. Results: From the initial survey, it was identified that a graduate did not require definitive spinal fusion after a growing program. From the Delphi session, it was determined that skeletal maturity was the most important factor in defining a graduate. A strictly defined minimum length of follow-up was not felt to be a prerequisite for qualification of graduation. After the final electronic version was distributed, > 80% of respondents agreed upon the final definition, thereby achieving consensus. Conclusion: The Pediatric Spine Study Group recommends adoption of the following definition: a “graduate” is a patient who has undergone any surgical program to treat early onset scoliosis, and has reached skeletal maturity and does not have a planned surgical intervention for EOS in the future. Level of evidence: V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)679-683
Number of pages5
JournalSpine deformity
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Early-onset scoliosis
  • Graduate
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal deformity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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