Purpose. To estimate the height loss in 28 patients who had undergone surgery for scoliosis before skeletal maturity. Methods. 28 women patients aged 11 to 18 (mean, 15) years underwent Harrington instrumentation, segmental sublaminar wiring, and posterior spinal fusion for idiopathic scoliosis. The patients’ mean age at menarche was 13 (range, 10–16) years. Pre- and post-operative radiographs of the spine were taken to determine curve types, the Cobb angle, and the degree of correction. The standing and sitting heights were measured using a flexible steel tape, and the expected standing and sitting heights were derived using formulae. Results. At the final follow up, the mean patient age was 20 (16–32) years. The mean standing height was 155.2 cm and the mean sitting height was 77.4 cm. Using the formulae, the mean expected standing height was 158.4 cm, indicating height loss of 3.2 cm (t=4.6, p=0.0001), and the mean expected sitting height was 79.9 cm, indicating height loss of 2.6 cm (t=3.84, p=0.001). The curve types of the 28 patients were sub-divided as thoracic (n=7), thoracolumbar (n=18), and double major (n=3). Patients with thoracolumbar curves achieved better correction and less loss of standing and sitting heights. Percentage loss of standing and sitting heights were not correlated with the apex of the curve or the degree of correction. Conclusion. Height loss after surgery was acceptable in comparison with height loss associated with progression of scoliosis without surgery.
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