Choosing the Right Scoliosis Back Brace

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If your child’s orthopedist or pediatrician has recommended bracing as a non-operative treatment for scoliosis, you will find various options. The number of choices for these braces can be confusing but, with the help of a knowledgeable and caring orthotist, you will find the right brace for your child.

Let’s start with the Rigo Cheneau Brace. This brace offers both a proven history and state-of-the-art technology. From its very beginnings in Germany in 1979, Dr. Cheneau addressed the fact that scoliosis is a 3D spinal condition and that corrective focus should be on the rotation of the spine. Dr. Cheneau’s original brace designs expanded with additional improvements and customizations made by Dr. Rigo in the 1990s. Today, each Rigo Cheneau brace is fully customized for every patient based upon a digital scan using CAD/CAM technology. At the National Scoliosis Center, we design and create each brace in-house based on the digital scan. The result is a fully customized brace with corrective pressure/expansion points where required. As needed, our orthotists make minor tweaks and adjustments to ensure the patient’s comfort or as the patient grows. Patients use the brace in conjunction with customized Schroth physical therapy, a regime specifically for the treatment of scoliosis. Patients at the National Scoliosis Center experience measurable success with the Rigo Cheneau Brace, along with Schroth physical therapy.

But, other choices are out there. Boston Orthotics and Prosthetics recently launched its Boston 3D Brace in August 2018. Like the proven Rigo Cheneau Brace, the Boston 3D Brace is fabricated in CAD from a scan of the patient. And, scoliosis-specific physical therapy is included in the treatment protocol. Be sure to look at the effectiveness of the Boston 3D brace as it is a relatively new product.

The traditional Boston Brace originated in the 1970s and is widely used in the United States. They offer several pre-fabricated modules that will fit most patients; custom orders are also available. The Boston Brace employs a cylinder shape with strategically placed pads to areas that need corrective force. A downside is that this cylinder-shaped brace prohibits expansion areas where needed, such as the rib cage. And, while there are several sizing options, they are not fabricated specifically for individual patients according to each patient’s specific body and curvature.

The Wilmington Brace provides another customized brace option. This design involves making a cast of the patient’s torso. The brace tightly hugs the body and allows for strategic pressure to be placed where needed. Like the traditional Boston Brace, the Wilmington Brace lacks expansion areas or other open areas.

The Milwaukee Brace dates to the 1940s and scoliosis patients using this brace have experienced varied success levels. This cumbersome brace includes a contoured pelvic girdle extending upward to an occipital pad in the back and a throat and chin piece at the front; it includes additional pads, straps, and accessories. In light of its cumbersome and unattractive design, it is rarely used today.

The Providence Brace and the Charleston Brace offer options for nighttime bracing. However, their use is limited to patients with more minor spinal deviations.

At the National Scoliosis Center, we believe that our fully customized, tried, and true, state-of-the-art Rigo Cheneau Brace offers our patients the very best non-surgical treatment option for scoliosis.