How effective is bracing for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis?
Limitations of this review include the sparse data and studies available, and the fact available studies only included girls (there is 1 male with scoliosis for every 7 females), making it very difficult to generalise the results to males. No papers investigated primary outcomes (pulmonary disorders, disability, back pain, quality of life, psychological and cosmetic issues). Due to the very low quality of the evidence in favour of bracing, patients and their parents should regard these results with caution and discuss their treatment options with a multidisciplinary team.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is a three-dimensional deformity of the spine. While adolescent idiopathic scoliosis can progress during growth and cause a surface deformity, it is usually not symptomatic. However, in adulthood, if the final spinal curvature surpasses a certain critical threshold, the risk of health problems and curve progression is increased. Braces are traditionally recommended to stop curvature progression in some countries whereas their use is criticised in others. Braces generally need to be worn constantly, with treatment extending over several years. The most common type of scoliosis is discovered at 10 years of age or older, and is defined as a curve that measures at least 10° (called a Cobb angle; measured on x-ray).