Synopsis: Monitoring adolescent scoliosis patients on brace use prevents curve progression and surgery. Bracing is often recommended for adolescents diagnosed with idiopathic adolescent scoliosis. Children who did not need surgery wore their brace 2.1 hours more per day on average.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is defined as an abnormal curvature of the spine that appears in late childhood or adolescence. Instead of growing straight, the spine develops a side-to-side curvature, usually in an elongated "S" or "C" shape; the bones of the spine are also slightly twisted or rotated.
Scoliosis is typically classified as either congenital (caused by vertebral anomalies present at birth), idiopathic (cause unknown, sub-classified as infantile, juvenile, adolescent, or adult, according to when onset occurred), or secondary to a primary condition.
Bracing often is recommended for adolescents diagnosed with idiopathic adolescent scoliosis, and a spinal curve between 25 and 45 degrees. When worn consistently and as directed, braces have been found to effectively halt or slow further progression of a spinal curve, often preventing surgery.
In a new study appearing in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, adolescent scoliosis patients each received a brace with embedded sensors to monitor use.
Patients were then divided into two groups:
"Patients who were aware that their device measured brace use, wore their brace, on average, an additional three hours each day," said orthopaedic surgeon and lead study author Lori Karol, MD.
The study also found that patients who wore their brace were less likely to require surgery, by 11 percent, due to less spinal progression.
The average curve magnitude at the start of bracing was comparable at the start of the study:
"Shared information between the teen, parents, orthotist (who oversees the creation and fit of the custom brace), and physician resulted in improved brace compliance," said Dr. Karol.
"These findings emphasize the role that open doctor-patient communication plays in encouraging treatment effectiveness in the adolescent age group."
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