Article Content

Evidence shows that braces for idiopathic scoliosis may avert surgery in teens. The effectiveness of bracing to avoid surgery in the setting of scoliosis has been controversial, mostly because research findings regarding benefits have been inconsistent. To better evaluate the benefits of bracing, researchers conducted a multicenter study of adolescents with scoliosis. Those whose parents agreed to randomization were assigned to either an observation group that didn't receive treatment or to bracing with a rigid thoracolumbosacral brace for at least 18 hours daily. Because recruitment was slow, a second group was allowed to choose which arm of the study to be in, bracing or observation. The results showed that treatment with a brace significantly increased the likelihood that a patient would reach skeletal maturity with a curvature of less than 50[degrees]. Curvatures greater than 50[degrees] usually indicate a need for surgery. The longer patients stayed in the brace, the more benefit they received. Findings appeared in the October 17, 2013, New England Journal of Medicine.