> Patient and Family > Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis
Figure 1: The X-ray and brace of a young woman with
scoliosis. A T-shirt is usually worn beneath the brace.
The brace is usually custom-made to provide appropriate
Bracing is recommended for patients with curves that measure between 25o
during their growth phase. The goal is to prevent the curve from getting bigger. This is accomplished by correcting the curve while the patient is in the brace so that the curve does not progress with time. Growth plates on the vertebrae are more likely to grow symmetrically if they have equal pressure over their surface as the child grows. Straighter spines equalize pressure better than curved spines. Once the brace is discontinued, the goal is to maintain the curve at the magnitude present when the brace was started. Even if slight curve progression occurs despite wearing the brace, surgical treatment is not necessary as long as the curve remains below 45o
at the end of growth. There are several types of braces available but all of them work in the same fashion. All braces are worn under the clothes and cannot be seen by others. Bracing is most effective when it is worn more than 20-22 hours per day. Your physician will often recommend removing the brace for bathing and sports.
Figure 2: X-rays before and after brace placement
showing correction of the thoracic and lumbar
When bracing treatment is started, radiographs are usually performed with the brace on to ensure that the brace is effective in achieving some correction of the curve(s) (see Figure 2). Future X-rays can be taken either in the brace or out of the brace depending on the preference of the physician.