Bracing is a common non-surgical treatment for children with scoliosis or those with a curvature of the spine. The goal of treating scoliosis with a brace is to slow or stop the progression of the curve. Bracing is an option for some children, depending on several factors. The child’s age, the location of the curve, the severity of the curve (measured by degrees), and how it is affecting their life are considerations for this type of treatment.
Below are common questions about bracing.
Can Bracing Help My Child?
Whether bracing will help your child depends on their age and the degree of their scoliosis curve. Children with mild scoliosis (a curvature of less than 25 degrees) are typically monitored by the doctor to see if the curve progresses. Bracing is typically recommended for children with moderate (a curvature that measures between 25 to 45 degrees) and progressive scoliosis (increasing by more than five degrees) who have not undergone the adolescent growth spurt yet.
In all likelihood, scoliosis curvature will worsen as a child’s spine grows. The brace functions to keep the spine straighter. There are limitations, however, as a brace cannot fix an existing curvature and can only prevent the worsening of the curve.
Severe scoliosis, with a curvature of 45 degrees or higher is usually treated with surgery. A brace can reduce the need for scoliosis surgery for children who begin using one before the curve becomes severe.
What Types of Braces Are There?
Braces that are generally used in scoliosis treatment are either rigid (made of plastic) or dynamic (made of soft elastic). They are custom-made for the patient and are designed with special consideration for the specifics of the curve and other factors, such as the child’s daily activities and the presence of other medical conditions.
How Long Does Brace-Wearing Usually Last?
Brace-wearing usually lasts until the child’s spine has fully grown. The doctor will monitor your progress every four to six months. As for how long it should be worn throughout the day, doctors usually recommend at least 16 hours per day to reap the benefits of treatment. Although some children may need to wear the brace for up to 23 hours per day. In a Bracing in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Trial (BrAIST), subjects who wore a brace more than 13 hours a day had a success rate of 90 percent or higher. A brace will only work when used properly, so children should be educated on how to correctly wear it for better outcomes.
Scoliosis Treatment in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, and Lapeer, Michigan
If you are concerned and suspect that your child may have scoliosis, make an appointment with a spine specialist as soon as possible. Dr. Bradley Ahlgren at Ahlgren Spine is highly experienced in treating scoliosis in children and adults. Dr. Ahlgren can assess the curve and determine the best treatment option for it. Dr. Ahlgren’s specialized training in treating spinal disorders and spine surgery allows him to offer individualized and highly advanced treatment options for scoliosis.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Ahlgren, call our office at (248) 215-8080 or use our online appointment request form.