Most children with mild scoliosis may not require treatment with a brace or surgery, but need regular check-ups to see if there have been changes in the curvature of their spines as they grow.
Before beginning treatment, a few factors are taken into consideration:
If your child has moderate scoliosis, your doctor may recommend wearing a brace to prevent further progression of the curve.
The most common type of brace is made of plastic and is contoured to the body so as to fit perfectly under the arms and around the rib cage, lower back and hips, making it practically invisible under the clothes.
Since a brace’s effectiveness increases with the number of hours it is worn, it is advised to have one on 24 hours a day. Braces do not hinder children’s participation in sports or other physical activities, and can even be taken off if, for instance, they want to go swimming.
Once bones stop growing, the braces are discontinued. This typically occurs:
As severe scoliosis progresses with time, your doctor may suggest surgery to reduce the severity of the spinal curve and to prevent it from worsening.
Spinal fusion is the most common type of scoliosis surgery. In this procedure, two or more of the bones in the spine are connected together so that they can’t move independently. Pieces of bone or a bone-like material are placed between the vertebrae. Metal rods, hooks, screws or wires typically hold that part of the spine straight and still while the old and new bone material fuses together.
In case the scoliosis is progressing rapidly in a young patient, doctors can install a length adjustable rod that keeps pace with the child’s growth. The rod, attached to the top and bottom sections of the spinal curvature, is usually lengthened every six months.