To determine lumbar intervertebral disc properties with shear wave elastography in adolescent idiopathic scoliotic (AIS) patients before and after surgery, and compare them with asymptomatic controls.
Twenty-five severe AIS patients with an indication for fusion surgery (15 ± 1.5 years old, the Cobb angle ranging between 40 and 93°) and fifty-nine asymptomatic adolescents (13 ± 2 years old) were included prospectively. Shear wave speed (SWS) was measured in the annulus fibrosus of L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1 discs of each subject. In AIS patients, measurements took place before surgery, and 3 months (N = 13) or 1 year after (N = 12).
No difference was observed between disc levels in any group. When pooling disc levels, SWS was significantly higher in preop AIS patients (4.0 ± 0.5 m/s) than in asymptomatic subjects (3.1 ± 0.5 m/s, p < 0.0001). SWS decreased 3 months postop (3.5 ± 0.3 m/s), and it decreased further towards normal values 1 year after (3.3 ± 0.4 m/s). SWS in preop AIS patients tended to decrease with the Cobb angle (Spearman's rho = - 0.4, p = 0.05).
Shear wave elastography measurements showed that discs in AIS patients were altered relative to asymptomatic ones, and this alteration tended to normalize 1 year post fusion surgery. Further studies should aim at determining if bracing of mild scoliosis has an effect on disc properties.
• Shear wave elastography shows alteration of annulus fibrosus in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. • Disc elastography tends to normalize 1 year after surgery.