Development of a Shared Decision-Making Tool for Adolescents With Scoliosis to Decide Between Observation Versus Fusion Surgery

Oluwatomilona I. Ifelayo, Juan P. Brito, Ian G. Hargraves, A. Noelle Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Adolescent patients with moderate to severe idiopathic scoliosis who have completed their skeletal growth face a significant choice in their treatment path: watchful waiting or spinal fusion. Shared decision making (SDM) assists patients and clinicians to find treatments that make intellectual, practical and emotional sense. Our objective was to develop a tool that supports SDM for patients with scoliosis and their families. Methods: We used a user-centered design approach that included collaboration between patients, surgeons and SDM experts, observation of clinician encounters, and literature review. We focused on adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients 13 or more years of age with less than 1 year of growth remaining (Risser stage 3 or greater) and curves between 40 and 65 degrees. Results: We included 22 patients, and collected 22 video recordings. From these videos, we identified salient patient priorities for decision making including treatment benefits, surgical complications, pain, scheduling and recovery, and cost. For each theme, we conducted a focused review to obtain the best estimate of effect. Then, an expert SDM designer developed an electronic prototype called Scoliosis Choice. Conclusions: The initial prototype of the scoliosis SDM was finalized and is currently being field tested in clinic. Scoliosis Choice may help patients and surgeons better understand the potential risks and benefits of spinal fusion vs. observation for scoliosis treatment and improve validated measures of quality in patient-parent-surgeon communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S70-S74
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  • clinical encounter
  • shared decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of a Shared Decision-Making Tool for Adolescents With Scoliosis to Decide Between Observation Versus Fusion Surgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this