HealthDay News — For patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), surgeons are allowing return to sports starting at three months after corrective surgery, according to research published in The Spine Journal.

Ronald A. Lehman Jr., MD, from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues conducted a questionnaire-based survey to identify current recommendations for return to sports and athletic activities after surgery in AIS. Twenty-three expert deformity surgeons completed the survey.

The researchers found that pedicle screw instrumentation allows earlier return to noncontact and contact sports, with most patients allowed to return to running, noncontact and contact sports, and collision sports by three, six, and 12 months postoperatively, respectively. 

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About 20% of surgeons never allow return to collision sports for all construct types; however, all surgeons permit eventual return to contact and noncontact sports, irrespective of construct type. 

More surgeons never allow return to collision sports with progressively distal lowest instrumented vertebra. Seventy-eight percent of respondents do not recommend formal postoperative physical therapy.

“Modern posterior instrumentation allows surgeons to recommend earlier return to sports after fusion for AIS, with the majority allowing running by three months, noncontact and contact sports by six months, and collision sports by 12 months,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the medical device and biotechnology industries.


1. Lehman RA, et al. Spine J. 2015; 15(5): 951-958.