Posted on Sep 22, 2013

Researchers have been studying the best treatment for children suffering from scoliosis. After weighing the results they have come to the conclusion that wearing a brace may be the most effective option in preventing a twisted spine.

Reuters reports on a new study, which states, “In the first large-scale test of whether wearing a brace helps to prevent an already-curved childhood spine from twisting further, bracing was nearly twice as effective as a watch-and-wait approach at preventing kids from needing surgery.” Researchers are hoping doctors use these results to take a more informed approach on whether children need to wear a brace to prevent surgery.

The results of the study have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. One doctor told Reuters, “The study really answers the question that parents raise- if you’re going to prescribe a brace for my child, does it work? - the answer is that braces have a very high success rate. We also found that the longer the child wore the brace, the more likely you were to achieve success. Children who wore it more than 13 hours a day had a 90 percent to 93 percent chance of success for avoiding having the curve progressing to a surgical threshold.”

The brace is a much more cost-effective way to rectify the issue rather than having expensive surgery.  An orthopedic doctor who finds the results extremely helpful told Reuters, “It certainly reinforces our present approach to bracing in these at-risk adolescents. This study appears to be better than science.” The study shows that parents should particularly take action if the spine curvature of their child is more than fifty degrees. At that point a brace is mandatory if the child wants to avoid having surgery in the future.

The report showed that, “There were more than 3,600 spinal surgeries to correct adolescent scoliosis in the U.S. in 2009. At a cost of $514 million, the procedure ‘ranked second only to appendicitis’ for children 10 to 17 years old. Bracing has been the standard method of trying to protect patients from needing surgery ever since a brace was developed in the 1940s.”

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Gerry Oginski
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