Background: Aesthetics is a main goal of both conservative and surgical treatments in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). Previously, we developed and validated a clinical scale - the Aesthetic Index (AI)--in order to measure aesthetic impairment and changes during treatment.
Aim: To verify the efficacy of bracing on aesthetics in AIS.
Study design: Prospective Cohort Study.
Population: Thirty-four consecutive patients, age 13.2 +/- 3.7, initial Cobb Angle 32 +/- 12 degrees , ATR 10 +/- 4 degrees Bunnel, 11 males.
Methods: Patients with AI scores of at least 5/6 were included. Each of them had a brace prescription (18 to 23 hours per day), according to the SPoRT concept. AI was measured again after six months and at the end of treatment, and then the pre- and post-treatment scores compared. The Wilcoxon test was performed.
Results: Twenty-nine patients out of the 34 included completed the treatment and had six-month and final results; four patients were lost during the treatment, and one was fused. At baseline, median AI was 6 (95% IC 5-6) but the score decreased to 3 (95% IC 0-5; p < 0.05) after six months with brace, and this value was maintained in the 29 who completed the treatment (95% IC 1-6; p < 0.05 with respect to the baseline).
Conclusion: Aesthetics can be improved in a clinically significant way when the brace treatment is performed according to the SPoRT concept and by following the SOSORT management criteria. This is a relevant result for patients and a major goal of scoliosis treatment, be it conservative or surgical. The use of a more sensitive tool like TRACE could more easily detect the clinical changes; nevertheless, AI proved sensible enough that its use in everyday clinical practice can be suggested.