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Adolescents undergoing surgery for scoliosis have a very high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency

Posted on: October 24, 2017   by  Vitamin D Council


A recent study published by the journal, Spinal Deformities, discovered a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in adolescents with scoliosis who are meant to undergo spinal surgery.

A total of 217 adolescents with either neuromuscular or idiopathic scoliosis were included in this study. All patients were scheduled to undergo either spinal fusion or initial growing rod placement surgery. Prior to the operation, the researchers recorded data regarding gender, age, body mass index, race, scoliosis type, spine surgery procedure and season of the year. Additionally, all individuals had serum blood draws in order to determine vitamin D status.

This is what the researchers found:

  • Approximately 75% of the participants were considered vitamin D deficient (<20 ng/ml; <50 nmol/l).
  • African Americans were more likely to be vitamin D deficient than Caucasians (p < 0.0002).
  • Those who were preparing for spinal fusion also experienced a greater risk of deficiency compared to those undergoing an initial growing rod placement (p < 0.03).
  • Low vitamin D status was most common during winter compared to any other season (p < 0.005).
  • Those with neuromuscular scoliosis had significantly higher vitamin D levels compared to those with idiopathic scoliosis (p < 0.0002).

The researchers concluded,“Low [25(OH)D] levels are reported in pediatric patients with scoliosis preparing for corrective spinal surgery. Population subsets most at risk for deficiency in this limited study include African American children, those presenting for spinal fusion surgery, and patients admitted in winter season.”


Mayes, T. et al. Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency in Pediatric Patients With Scoliosis Preparing for Spinal Surgery. Spinal Deformities, 2017.

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