Do all scoliosis patients wear braces?
No, in some cases, a brace is not needed when the curvature is mild and in other cases when the curvature is determined to be too great surgery might be needed. A mild curvature may be watched to show signs of progression and may never need bracing. Physical therapy and strengthening exercises may also be used in conjunction with bracing or on their own for milder curvatures that do not show signs of progression.
What is the best bracing method for most scoliosis curves?
We primarily use the Rigo Cheneau bracing methodology. Learn more on our Rigo Cheneau page. This bracing method has a long history of success in Europe and is our brace of choice in most situations.
How long does typical bracing treatment last?
Bracing for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis typically begins during adolescence and continues until the child completes their growth. For girls, this is usually 18 months to two years after the start of menstruation. Patients suffering from juvenile or infantile scoliosis can experience a much longer course of treatment because they require treatment beginning at a younger age.
Can bracing correct a scoliosis curvature?
Bracing has changed a lot in the last few decades. With the customized Rigo Cheneau bracing system, we have seen excellent results with patients who adhere to the recommended wear time for their brace. While the goal with bracing is foremost to stop the progression of curvature, we have seen improvement occur in many cases.
How many hours do you need to wear the brace?
Each orthopedic doctor has a required ‘wear time’ protocol that they believe best according to the specifics of each individual patient. We work in conjunction with the orthopedic doctor to determine the best number of hours per day to wear the brace. Our patients who have experienced the most success have worn their brace for 21 hours a day. However, depending on the extent of curvature and age of the patient, we have also had success with night time only bracing schedules. This is decided on a case-by-case basis and through consultation with your orthopedic doctor.
How do you measure improvement?
Ongoing X-rays are required to monitor your child’s progress and to measure improvement. For the safety of our patients, we use an in-house EOS Imaging System, a low dosage radiation system, the first in the greater Washington DC/Baltimore region.
Are the scoliosis braces comfortable to wear?
After an initial period of a few days, the brace becomes comfortable for our patients. We have our patients gradually increase the number of hours a day the brace is worn. This allows the body to slowly adjust to its new alignment. We also work to custom fit the brace on the day you are fitted. We take X-rays and listen to your feedback so that we can make the necessary adjustments. The more comfortable a patient is wearing the brace the more likely they are to adhere to the treatment plan and have greater success.
Is the brace uncomfortable in the hot summer months?
When the weather gets hot, if you are more warm natured you might find wearing a brace can become uncomfortable. However, we take steps to ventilate and lighten your brace as much as possible. You may find the need to spend more time in an air-conditioned environment, but swimming is also a good break from brace wearing and most doctors allow extra time out of the brace for sports and swimming activities during the summer months.
What if my child gains weight or grows?
Most of our patients usually require adjustments to their brace after approximately 9-12 months. In some instances, a new brace may have to be created to account for the patient’s growth.
Do you offer ongoing support and counseling for my child?
We offer in-house patient advocacy and counseling to answer any questions you or your child may have including fashion advice, insurance advocacy, and health and nutrition assistance.
How often and for how long will my child need to do Schroth Physical Therapy?
This is something Luke and his team will discuss with each new patient. Schroth Physical Therapy is an excellent complement to bracing; especially with the Rigo Cheneau brace and we generally recommend it if possible.
How do I care for my brace?
Your brace will require some basic care and maintenance to keep it in the best shape possible. You will want to make sure the straps, hardware, and padding do not get wet to prevent rusting. You will also need to clean your brace weekly or as needed using a simple damp cloth or a little rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth. Store your brace at a safe height when not in use—away from pets and toddlers.
Do the braces show under clothes?
The brace is form-fitting and therefore does not show underneath clothing very much. However, we have learned some fashion tips from our patients that we have added to our website. Please visit our blog about Bracing and Fashion for more ideas and inspiration. Also, visit the Curvy Girls support group for even more fashion tips.
Can patients put on the brace themselves?
Yes. One of the hallmarks of the Rigo Cheneau brace is that you can put on and take off the brace by yourself. The brace opens in the front and functions like a vest or jacket. The straps are easy to adjust as they are on the front of the brace as well. This is very helpful in a school PE or athletics situation when the brace needs to be removed and replaced in a short amount of time with little to no help.
When do patients need surgery?
A patient may be considered a candidate for surgery when the spinal curvature has reached 45-50 degrees or more. Scoliosis surgery is a major step and is a decision that should be made through consultations with several orthopedic surgeons who specialize in scoliosis surgery. Not all patients with this degree of curvature will need to undergo surgery.
Do patients grow out of the brace and need a new one or can you adjust it?
Most of our patients usually require adjustments to their brace after approximately 9-12 months, however; a new brace may have to be created at that point to account for the patient’s growth.
How often will we have to visit your office?
We will see you often in the first few months after becoming our patient and we will schedule regular follow-up appointments, generally every 4-6 months, with you and in conjunction with your doctor visits. These follow up appointments and checkups are crucial to successful bracing since the brace needs to fit properly and be adjusted accordingly for growth in order for treatment to be successful. You will be given a schedule at your initial visit.
Will you work directly with my doctor?
Yes, we work with both national and international doctors. For our international patients, we may be initially charged with creating their brace, and then they are seen by their home doctors. We consult with their doctors and help these patients with their treatment as much as possible. We also work with American orthopedic surgeons throughout the United States and have an excellent reputation for performing detailed work, fabricating the best existing scoliosis braces in the industry.
Do you need a prescription to fabricate a brace?
Yes, a medical prescription is required for fabricating a scoliosis brace. You must first see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and to get a prescription for us to create your brace. You will need to ask the doctor to write a prescription for a custom TLSO.
Do your braces come in different colors and patterns?
Yes, they do. When you come in for your brace appointment and we create your CAD (computer-aided design) or your brace cast, you will be able to select your colors and patterns. On the day that the brace is made, you will be given the opportunity to go into the lab and assist with making your brace which includes applying the color and pattern!
What about physical activities?
It is important for scoliosis patients to stay active and they may participate in sports, PE, and extracurricular activities. In most cases, doctors will allow patients to have regular out-of-brace time for sports activities.
What about diet and nutrition?
Good nutrition and healthy eating are essential for all patients. A diet low in fat and high in protein, with plenty of fruits and vegetables, is a great place to start.