Study design: Prospective comparison of the survival rates of two different bracing concepts with respect to curve progression and duration of treatment during pubertal growth spurt in two cohorts of patients followed up prospectively.
Objectives: To determine whether the results obtained by the use of a soft brace (SpineCor) is comparable to the results of the Chêneau derived TLSO during pubertal growth spurt.
Background data: In recent peer reviewed literature, the SpineCor is described as an effective method of treatment for patients with scoliosis. However, until now, no controlled study has been presented comparing the results obtained with this soft brace to a sample treated with other bracing concepts proven effective.
Methods: Twelve patients with Cobb angles between 16-32 degrees during pubertal growth spurt are presented as a case series treated with the SpineCor. The survival rate of this sample is described and compared to a matched group of patients treated with the Chêneau brace of the same age group. All girls treated in both studies were pre-menarchial with the first clinical signs of maturation (Tanner 1-3).
Results: During the pubertal growth spurt, most of the patients (11/12) with SpineCor progressed clinicly and radiologicly as well (at least 5 degrees ). Progression could be stopped changing SpineCor to the Chêneau brace in most of the samples described (7/10). The avarage Cobb angle at the start of treatment with the SpineCor was 21.3 degrees , after an avarage observation time of 21.5 months, 31 degrees. The control sample, primarily treated with the Chêneau brace (n=15), showed at average no progression. Cobb angle at the start of treatment was 33.7 degrees and after the observation time of 37 months, 33.9 degrees . Radiological improvements can be reported for some of the cases (3/15) as well as progressions (3/15). At 24 months of treatment time, 73% of the patients with a Chêneau brace and 33% of the patients with the SpineCor where still under treatment with their original bracing concept, at 42 month follow-up time 80% of the patients with Chêneau braces and 8% of the patients with the SpineCor survived with respect to curvature progression. The differences of the proportions statisticly where highly significant.
Conclusions: The SpineCor does not change natural history of idiopathic scoliosis during the pubertal growth spurt. The use of the Chêneau brace seems to do so. Oncoming studies with the aim to test the efficiency of braces should be based on samples at immediate risk for progression (only girls with first signs of maturation but pre-menarchial).