Purpose: Previous reports have demonstrated the effectiveness of casting for EOS. Brace treatment for EOS has not been studied. The purpose of this multicenter retrospective study was to compare radiographic outcomes, complications, and rates of conversion to surgery in children with EOS treated with casting or bracing.
Methods: Children aged 2-6 years with idiopathic or neuromuscular EOS treated with casting or bracing with minimum follow-up of 2 years were identified.
Results: 68 patients (36 cast, 32 brace) were analyzed. Diagnosis, age at start of treatment, and duration of follow-up were similar. Although the cast patients had a larger pre-treatment major curve magnitude (50° vs 31°, p < 0.001), both groups had a similar major curve magnitude at most recent follow-up (36° vs 32°, p = 0.456). T1-T12 and T1-S1 length increased in both groups. The cast and brace patients had similar complications and conversions to surgery. Sub-analysis showed that while casting resulted in curve improvement regardless of etiology, bracing was able to prevent curve progression in patients with idiopathic EOS but not in patients with non-idiopathic EOS (Δ- 15° vs 27°, p = 0.006). Regression analysis (significance p = 0.10) controlling for baseline age, major curve magnitude, and T1-T12 and T1-S1 length showed that treatment method was associated with difference in major curve magnitude (p = 0.090) and T1-T12 length (p = 0.024).
Conclusion: In our study, serial casting led to curve improvement in children with idiopathic and neuromuscular EOS, whereas brace treatment appeared to prevent curve progression in patients with idiopathic EOS but did not appear to control the curve in neuromuscular EOS.
Keywords: Bracing; Casting; Early onset scoliosis; Nonoperative; Treatment.