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Risk of Progression in De Novo Low-Magnitude Degenerative Lumbar Curves: Natural History and Literature Review

Scientific Paper

Chin KR1, Furey CBohlman HH.

Interested medical professionals can read through the full paper, also published in the American Journal of Orthopedics, here.


Natural history studies have focused on risk for progression in lumbar curves of more than 30 degrees, while smaller curves have little data for guiding treatment. We studied curve progression in de novo degenerative scoliotic curves of no more than 30 degrees. Radiographs of 24 patients (17 women, 7 men; mean age, 68.2 years) followed for up to 14.3 years (mean, 4.85 years) were reviewed. Risk factors studied for curve progression included lumbar lordosis, lateral listhesis of more than 5 mm, sex, age, convexity direction, and position of intercrestal line. Curves averaged 14 degrees at presentation and 22 degrees at latest follow-up and progressed a mean of 2 degrees (SD, 1 degrees) per year. Mean progression was 2.5 degrees per year for patients older than 69 years and 1.5 degrees per year for younger patients. Levoscoliosis progressed 3 degrees per year and dextroscoliosis 1 degrees per year (P<.05). Forty-six percent of patients had lateral listhesis of more than 5 mm at L3 and L4. Curve progression was not linear and might occur rapidly, particularly in women older than 69 with lateral listhesis of more than 5 mm and levoscoliosis. Small curves can progress and therefore should be individualized in the context of other risk factors.


Dr. Kingsley R. Chin, Founder of philosophy and practice of The LES Society and The LESS Institute

Dr. Kingsley R. Chin is a board certified Harvard-trained orthopedic spine surgeon and professor with copious business and information technology exposure. He sees a niche opportunity where medicine, business and info. tech meet – and is uniquely educated at the intersection of these three professions. He has experience as Professor of Clinical Biomedical Sciences & Admissions Committee Member at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, Professor of Clinical Orthopedic Surgery at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Visiting Spine Surgeon & Professor at the University of the West Indies, Mona, and Adjunct Professor of Clinical Biomedical Studies at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

Learn more about Dr. Chin here and connect via LinkedIn.


Less Exposure Surgery (LES) is based on a new philosophy of performing surgery, leading the charge to prove through bench and clinical outcomes research that LES treatment options are the best solutions – to lowering the cost of healthcare, improving outcomes and increasing patient satisfaction. Learn more at LESSociety.org.

The LES Society philosophy: “Tailor treatment to the individual aiding in the quickest recovery and return to a pain-free lifestyle, using LES® techniques that lessen exposure, preserve unoffending anatomy and utilize new technologies which are safe, easy to adopt and reproducible. These LES®techniques lessen blood loss, surgical time and exposure to radiation and can be safely performed in an outpatient center. Less is more.” – Kingsley R. Chin, MD

About The LESS Institute

The LESS Institute is the world leader center of excellence in Less Exposure Surgery. Our safe, effective outpatient treatments help patients recover quickly, avoid expensive hospital stays and return home to their family the same day. Watch our patient stories, follow us on Facebook and visit TheLESSInstitute.com to learn more.


The above study utilized LES Technology from SpineFrontier – leading provider of LES Technologies and instruments – offering surgeons and patients superior technology and services.



Chin KR1, Furey CBohlman HH.

Author information

  1. Institute for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (iMIS), West Palm Beach, Florida 33480, USA. [email protected]

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