Balance control in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis and disturbed somatosensory function

Xia Guo, W. W. Chau, Christina W.Y. Hui-Chan, Catherine S.K. Cheung, Wai Nam Tsang, Jack C.Y. Cheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


STUDY DESIGN. A cross-sectional study of the balance control in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis. OBJECTIVE. To investigate the relationship among somatosensory function, balance control, and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA. Balance control requires the contribution of somatosensory, visual, and vestibular inputs. Previous studies have shown that abnormal somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) were associated with AIS. METHODS. A total of 105 girls with AIS and 57 normal girls aged 11-14 years entered the study, and were evaluated with bilateral tibial nerve evoked cerebral SSEPs and standing balance control under reduced or conflicting sensory conditions (i.e., the sensory organization test). One-way analysis of variance was conducted to evaluate the effects of scoliosis and somatosensory function tested by SSEPs on the performance of sensory organization test. RESULTS. There were 15 patients with AIS who had abnormal SSEPs. Postural sway was measured on all subjects under normal, reduced, or conflicting somatosensory, visual, and vestibular conditions. One-way analysis of variance indicated no significant effect of spinal deformity or SSEPs on the balance control when there was an increased reliance on the somatosensory, visual, and vestibular systems during stance (P > 0.05). However, in the patients with abnormal SSEPs, a significant effect was found when subjects had to rely on somatosensory input for their balance control (P = 0.023). The effect of scoliosis by itself was not found to be significant (P = 1.0). CONCLUSIONS. The finding of significantly larger difference in bilateral SSEP latencies in patients with AIS indicated the association of abnormal SSEPs with AIS. The finding of a significant effect of SSEPs on the balance control further indicated the presence of abnormal somatosensory function in a subgroup of patients with AIS.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2006


  • Adolescent
  • Balance control
  • Idiopathic scoliosis
  • Sensory organization test
  • Somatosensory evoked potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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