Vibratory response in idiopathic scoliosis

M. P. Wyatt, R. L. Barrack, S. J. Mubarak, T. S. Whitecloud, S. W. Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Recent clinical studies have suggested that a neurological lesion may be a cause of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and animal experiments have implicated the posterior column pathway. We have tried to determine if differences in neurological response could be detected and measured clinically, and have compared the threshold of detection of vibratory sensation in 20 girls with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis with that in 20 clinically normal age-matched controls. A highly significant reduction of the threshold of detection of vibration was seen in the scoliotic group compared to the controls (p < 0.001). Curve magnitude did not correlate with this threshold for either the upper (r = 0.172) or lower extremity (r = 0.126). Significant asymmetry between right- and left-sided thresholds to vibration was demonstrated in the scoliotic group. Our study supports the concept that an aberration in the function of the posterior column pathway of the cord may be of primary importance in the aetiology of idiopathic scoliosis. A clinically practical test to measure this function is presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714-718
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series B
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1986


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