Scoliosis Research Society
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Scoliosis Referrals Often Not Early Enough to Use Bracing

Scoliosis occurs in 1-3% of all children. It appears when children are 10-12 years old. As children grow, scoliosis will often worsen. Scoliosis can be mild, moderate or severe. Mild scoliosis requires no treatment. Moderate scoliosis can be treated with a brace. The goal of bracing is to prevent worsening. It works very well at preventing the need for surgery. Severe scoliosis is treated with spine surgery. It is very important that children with mild scoliosis see a specialist while they are young. Once children finish growing, a brace cannot help them. The scoliosis Research Society recommends brace treatment for growing children with moderate scoliosis.

This study was done at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. They studied 335 children who they saw for scoliosis in 2014. They looked at the treatment options at the first patient visit. Fifty-six of these children needed a brace. Sixty-seven already had severe curves and needed surgery. Another 27 children had curves that were close to needing surgery. This means that 94 of their patients are likely to have spine surgery. Unfortunately, they never had an opportunity to be treated with a brace. If their scoliosis was noticed earlier, a brace might have prevented the need for a surgery. Early discovery of scoliosis can decrease the need for surgery by giving more children a chance of brace treatment.

Anthony, A., Zeller, R., Evans, C. et al. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis detection and referral trends: impact treatment options. Spine Deform 9, 75–84 (2021).

Summary provided by the SRS Patient Education Committee.