Question:My daughter has a fairly severe case of scoliosis. Her doctor wants her to wear a brace but says surgery may eventually be needed. I don't want to put my daughter through any unnecessary treatment. Is there a way to tell ahead of time whether the brace will work?
In a recent study, about half of the teens who wore braces for scoliosis had good results. However, 30 percent wound up needing surgery within three years. Information from X-rays may predict whether bracing will work. Researchers have found that, for teens with two spinal curves in an S-shape, the exact pattern of the curves may suggest how successful bracing will be. If the pelvis is tilted too far (over 12 degrees), there may also be less success from bracing.
Sometimes you can't tell how a treatment will work until you try it. Your daughter's doctor may be able to tell early on how effective the brace will be. Research says that, for teens with double spinal curves, a 25 percent correction of the bigger curve early on suggests a good final result from bracing. The number of hours teens wear the brace also makes a difference. Generally, the more hours, the better. Teens who wear their braces more than 18 hours a day may avoid further curvature of the spine 80 percent of the time.
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