Supporting pediatric spine research goes beyond collecting and analyzing data. It goes beyond our infrastructure’s never-ending battle to secure the funding needed to keep our research moving forward. It goes beyond Bunsen burners and white lab coats.

When you support pediatric spine research, you’re supporting hundreds of thousands of kids who are diagnosed with scoliosis every year. You are supporting parents as they turn to the internet to research their child’s odds after a new diagnosis. You are providing children and their families comfort in knowing that, at any given moment, someone is working hard on their behalf. Supporting pediatric spine research means that you are improving lives today and advancing treatments for the children of tomorrow.

You can stop the decline in research funding

Things change. As the economy ebbs and flows, so do our funding sources for pediatric spine research. Yet some things remain the same. Scoliosis still exists, and so does the need for better scoliosis treatments. With a decline in funding on the horizon, we turn to you, families whose lives have been impacted by scoliosis and supporters of our mission, to help us bridge the funding gap on the horizon. Your contributions are the backbone of our research. You continuously drive the work of our foundation onward with support that is changing patients’ lives for the better. We are indebted to the generosity that you have shown in the past and ask that you continue to stand with us and with our patients.

Un-funded Studies

Development of a Shared Decision Making Tool for AIS

The shared-decision model (SDM) blends the traditional model of care, with the physician making decision, with the informed-decision making model. This model allows physicians to educate the patient while patients express their preferences and treatment goals. Decision-making aids allow for improved communication between patients and caregivers. When patients are engaged in their care, confidence, satisfaction, and adherence to treatment increase. Our long-term goal is to improve patient-reported outcomes for moderate, skeletally mature AIS patients through a SDM model. The objective here, which is the first step in this goal, is to develop a decision-making aid to improve communication between patients, parents, and caregivers. This effort currently is not funded.

Non-Operative AIS

Without thorough information on the natural history of AIS, treatment decisions are restricted. The knowledge of outcomes of non-surgically treated patients has been based on literature with many shortcomings. In order to advance the care of AIS patients, study of non-operative patients must be held to the same standards as operative outcomes: prospective and longitudinal. Through this research effort to collect non-operative, prospective Idiopathic scoliosis patient data, we can begin to understand the implications of operative treatment and how outcomes compare to non-operative patients. These findings will enhance understanding of AIS surgical indications by providing the necessary control group for operative studies. This important research initiative is currently unfunded.


Patient reported outcomes of treatment are crucial in advancing treatment and improvement in the ability to assess these outcomes is essential. This research effort will allow our research group to advance our efforts in directing research towards treatment solutions to improve quality of life in scoliosis patients. The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) is a set of person-centered measures that evaluates and monitors physical, mental, and social health in adults and children. It utilizes computer-adaptive testing to implement item-response theory based hierarchy of domain question items. It is not disease specific. This research effort will access the utility, sensitivity and reliability of the PROMIS Domains for the ability to detect change after surgery for patients with AIS. It will also compare the current Health Related Quality of Life Tool used in our Idiopathic Scoliosis Outcomes registry: the SRS questionnaire (version 22r) and PROMIS instrument performance.

The Long-Term Follow-up of Outcomes in Patients with Cerebral Palsy & Scoliosis

Cerebral Palsy (CP) affects 2 per 1000 births. More than 60% of children with total-body CP will develop a progressive spinal deformity. Surgical treatment of CP-related scoliosis remains controversial with few clearly defined indications, high complication rates, unclear benefits to the patient and/or caregiver, and high societal costs. There are many gaps in knowledge in the understanding of the outcomes of operative and non-operative treatment in patients with CP-related scoliosis, especially related to the long-term outcomes of these patients. Currently, there is limited funding for the data collection efforts associated with longer term follow-up visits (5 and 10 years) of operative and non-operative patients with Cerebral Palsy and Scoliosis.

AIS Blood Loss Best Practice Guidelines – Development & Distribution

Average Blood Loss (BL) for patients undergoing PSF for AIS are often reported at more the 1000 ml. Minimizing blood loss has obvious benefits in minimizing transfusion related risks, but is also important in protecting the valuable allogeneic blood bank resources. We believe we can provide surgeons a risk adjusted average blood loss that will allow them to compare themselves to their peers as a mechanism of self-assessment and improvement. Minimizing the physiologic effects of blood loss are known to have other positive effects on a patient’s post-operative course such as improved mobility, gastrointestinal function and strength, as well as reduced risk of infection. Developing a risk adjusted BL performance measure has the potential to significantly improve surgeon performance with reduced postoperative BL. We currently do not have funding for this effort.

CP Scoliosis Best Practice Guidelines – Development & Distribution

Our initial review of the use of dashboard reporting within the HSG surgeon membership for AIS surgical patient data has resulted in over 60% of surgeons improving their operative times and decreasing surgical Blood Loss in just one year! This dashboard reporting format enabled comparative analysis of individual’s surgeon’s outcomes and variability of practices which has aided in the development of a Best Practice Guideline for postoperative treatment in AIS. We would like to implement this practice with our CP Scoliosis patient data and begin to develop Best Practice Guidelines to improve care in this medically fragile patient population. We currently do not have funding for this quality and safety initiative.

Post-op Motion

The purpose of this research effort is to assess inter-vertebral coronal motion of the unfused distal segments of the spine in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) after instrumented fusion. As the spine functions as a unit, alterations to segments above or below can disturb the delicate balance that exists in the mobility of the spinal column. These motion alterations are poorly understood, and the short- and long-term effects of disrupted mechanics are also poorly understood. Further research on motion alterations and disc health is warranted. We plan to study patients at their 10 year or greater follow-up visit and collecting motion bending films along with MRI data to assess disc health status. This research is currently unfunded.

3D Research in AIS

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a complex three-dimensional (3D) deformation of the trunk: a complex 3D ‘’rotatory’’ or ‘’torsional’’ deformity of the spine and the surgical treatment of AIS should be done in 3D and according to 3D principles of correction. Fortunately, recent developments in digital radiography such as the EOS system allow the possibility to obtain fast, reliable, minimally-irradiating and cost-effective 3D reconstructions of the spine, rib cage and pelvis of subjects with AIS. We plan to develop our Idiopathic Scoliosis registry into the largest series of 3D data for scoliosis evaluation, treatment and outcomes evaluations. Our efforts to advance care using 3D evaluation techniques and 3D outcomes analyses are currently limited in funding.

How to support these studies

Supporting one of these studies is as simple as making a phone call. We rely on the generous donations from contributors like you to help us carry out these research efforts. Your support will help ensure these important clinical questions are answered.

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