Background: Reported failure rates,(defined based on percentage of cases progressing to surgery) of corrective bracing for idiopathic scoliosis are highly variable. This may be due to the quality of the brace itself, but also of the patient care during treatment. The latter is sometimes neglected, even though it is considered a main determinant of good results among conservative experts of SOSORT. The aim of this paper was to develop and verify the Consensus on management of scoliosis patients treated with braces
Methods: We followed a Delphi process in four steps, distributing and gradually changing according to the results a set of recommendations: we involved the SOSORT Board twice, then all SOSORT members twice, with a Pre-Meeting Questionnaire (PMQ), and during a Consensus Session at the SOSORT Athens Meeting with a Meeting Questionnaire (MQ). We set a 90% agreement as the minimum to be reached.
Results: We had a 71% response rate to PMQ, and 66.7% to MQ. Since the PMQ we had a good agreement (no answers below 72% - 70.2% over 90%). With the MQ the agreement consistently increased for all the answers previously below 90% (no answers below 83%, 75% over 90%). With increasing experience in bracing all numerical criteria tended to become more strict. We finally produced a set of 14 recommendations, grouped in 6 Domains (Experience/competence, Behaviours, Prescription, Construction, Brace Check, Follow-up).
Conclusion: The Consensus permits establishment of recommendations concerning the standards of management of idiopathic scoliosis with bracing, with the aim to increase efficacy and compliance to treatment. The SOSORT recommends to professionals engaged in patient care to follow the guidelines of this Consensus in their clinical practice. The SOSORT criteria should also be followed in clinical research studies to achieve a minimum quality of care. If the aim is to verify the efficacy of bracing these criteria should be companions of the methodological research criteria for bracing proposed by other societies.