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Bracing Shows Benefit for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
September 20, 2013

Bracing Shows Benefit for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

By Joe Elia

Adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis benefit from wearing a brace, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Some 240 adolescents (aged 10–15) with idiopathic scoliosis (Cobb angle, 20–40 degrees) at high risk for progressing to spinal curvatures that would require surgery underwent either bracing or observation. Bracing involved wearing a rigid thoracolumbosacral orthosis for a minimum of 18 hours daily. Treatment success was defined as skeletal maturity without progression to 50 degrees or more.

After roughly 2 years, treatment success was significantly more common in the bracing group than in the observation group (roughly 75% vs. 45%). Longer daily brace use was associated with greater likelihood of success.

Editorialists note that many patients without braces (or patients just not using them often) had treatment success. They say the challenge is to identify those most likely to benefit from bracing.

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