Commentary: Appropriate Use Criteria for Lumbar Degenerative Scoliosis: Developing Evidence-based Guidance for Complex Treatment Decisions.

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Lumbar degenerative scoliosis is a relatively common problem, and is being treated more frequently due to the confluence of an aging population and an increased capacity and willingness to manage difficult problems in older patients. Lumbar degenerative scoliosis is a complex pathology as it often involves the intersection of degenerative spinal stenosis and spinal deformity. While previous studies provide an indication that these patients may benefit from surgical treatment, the substantial variability in treatment underscores the opportunity for improvement. Optimizing treatment for lumbar degenerative scoliosis is critical as surgical intervention, while potentially providing substantial clinical benefit also entails measurable risk and significant expense. In light of these issues, evidence-based guidance generated through Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) development offers the potential to improve both the quality and cost effectiveness of care.The lumbar degenerative scoliosis AUC represents a significant step toward evidence-based treatment in spinal surgery. This is the first time that spine societies and industry partners have collaborated to support evidence development. The willingness of all involved to support a completely independent process underlines a commitment to trust the evidence. Subsequent studies may validate and/or refine the AUC recommendations, but the most important result is that the standard for evidence quality has been raised.





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Glassman, Steven D, Sigurd H Berven, Christopher I Shaffrey, Praveen V Mummaneni and David W Polly (2017). Commentary: Appropriate Use Criteria for Lumbar Degenerative Scoliosis: Developing Evidence-based Guidance for Complex Treatment Decisions. Neurosurgery, 80(3). pp. E205–E212. 10.1093/neuros/nyw094 Retrieved from

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Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.

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