Dr. Lori Karol joins Facebook live and demonstrates a customized brace made in the hospital's Orthotics department.

Jun 05, 2018 / Scoliosis & Spine

#SRHaccess Facebook LIVE Recap: Scoliosis Bracing

In honor of Scoliosis Awareness Month, Assistant Chief of Staff Lori A. Karol, M.D. joined us on Facebook live to discuss scoliosis bracing. Below is a recap of the conversation.

Watch the live segment. 

What is scoliosis?
  • A curvature of the spine. 
  • Several different types of scoliosis. 
  • Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) is the most common type of scoliosis where bracing is an option for treatment. Typically, AIS occurs between 10-14 years of age while the adolescent is still growing. 
What causes scoliosis?
  • There is no definite cause related to scoliosis. However, research conducted at the hospital has shown that there are certain genes associated with the condition which can cause a child to have it. 
  • Scoliosis is not caused or related to a certain sport and/or activity. Wearing a backpack also does not cause the condition. 
The basics of a scoliosis brace
  • A brace is used to stop a scoliosis curve from getting worse. It does not cure the condition or make it go away.
  • Ultimate goal of using the brace is to prevent the child from needing surgery.
  • A brace is used on curves that range from 25 to 40 degrees.
  • Bracing is only a treatment option if the child is still growing.
Receiving your brace at Scottish Rite Hospital
  • The doctor, the patient and his/her family examine the X-ray of the spine together to determine whether bracing is the right treatment option for the child. 
  • Depending on the child and his/her curve, the number of hours prescribed for the brace to be worn daily varies. 
  • There are different types of braces depending on the curve.
    • TLSO (thoracolumbosacral orthosis): a type of brace worn for curves located in the mid to lower part of the back.
    • Providence brace, also known as a night time brace, is specific for lower back (lumbar) curves and is only worn while in bed at night. These braces are mainly used for curves that are less severe. 
  • A member from the hospital’s Orthotics department joins the conversation to begin the process of customizing a brace for the child.
    • Three to four-week process
    • The patient will have an appointment with Orthotics to have a digitized scan made of their back.
    • After the scan, the orthotist manipulates the image to create a straighter spine, specific to the patient. 
    • From the scan, the patient’s body is carved out of Styrofoam and a plastic mold is made specific to the body. 
    • The patient comes back for an appointment so that the brace can be fitted to the body and to make sure it is comfortable.   
What is the purpose of the sensors inside the brace?
  • Little sensors, about dime size, are placed in each brace to track the number of hours a patient is wearing their brace. 
  • It monitors the temperature of the brace, so it is being worn when the sensor is at body temperature. 
  • Each visit, the doctor is able to receive a graph showing how many hours a patient is wearing the brace. 
Scoliosis bracing research
  • The hospital has and continues to conduct research on using sensors to track brace wear. 
  • The research of tracking brace wear through these sensors has been presented and shared around the world and published in several orthopedic journals. 
  • The studies have shown that if a patient receives information on how many hours their brace is being worn, it actually increases the number of hours the patient wears the brace.
  • The sensors provide feedback to the patient to help incentivize them to wear the brace for the prescribed number of hours.  
Clothing while wearing the brace
  • Braces are made to fit the body. It doesn’t stick out or deform clothing.
  • Depending on wardrobe choices, clothing can hide the brace.
  • Certain shirts are given to the patients to wear under the brace to help with sweating.
Activities and braces
  • Depending on the activity/sport, a patient is able to continue participating while wearing the brace.
  • With very athletic patients, the doctor works with them to determine how to work around a sporting event schedule to make sure the brace is still being worn for its prescribed hours. 
What happens after the patient is fully grown?
  • The patient will come in for check-ups usually until he/she is 18 years old. 
  • Once the patient is fully grown and it is determined that the curve is stabilized, the brace is no longer needed. 

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