Skip to main content
  • Oral presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Are routine postoperative X-Rays justified in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis?


The clinical relevance of X-ray findings may not justify routine postoperative radiographic controls at 0, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients undergoing instrumented fusion with third-generation implants.

Materials and methods

Full-spine X-rays and clinical records from the first 2 years’ postoperative follow-up in all AIS patients who underwent instrumented fusion in our center between 2005 and 2008 were independently analyzed by 2 investigators (consensus for discrepancies). The reviewers sought any clinical feature justifying X-ray control and any relevant radiologic finding [1].


Records from 43 patients (mean age 16.5 years, 93% women) were evaluated. A total of 414 (212 posteroanterior, 202 lateral) full-spine X-rays (9.6/patient) were performed during the first 2 postoperative years: 392 were available for analysis, and 391 had an associated clinical note. Excluding the 89 immediate postoperative films, only 48 of 325 (14.8%) were clinically justified: pain in 17 (34%) patients, clinical progression of deformity in 4 (8%) and previous X-ray finding in 29 (58%). All patients with clinical progression had a relevant X-ray finding. Pain was associated with a relevant finding in 23.5% of cases (positive predictive value 0.1); 7.4% of films with no clinical justification showed a relevant finding (negative predictive value 0.86). Only 4.3% of films led to a therapy change. Lower Risser sign increased the risk of having a relevant radiographic finding (p<0.05).


Routine 3, 6, 12, and 24-month postoperative X-rays are not justified in AIS and should be avoided in mature, uncomplicated cases.


  1. Lowe T, Berven SH, Schwab FJ, Bridwell KH: The SRS classification for adult spinal deformity: building on the King/Moe and Lenke classification systems. Spine. 2008, 33 (20): 2243-7. 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31817d1d4e.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Vila-Casademunt, A., Pellisé, F., Domingo-Sàbat, M. et al. Are routine postoperative X-Rays justified in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis?. Scoliosis 7 (Suppl 1), O13 (2012).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: