The treatment plan that is right for your child is determined on a case-by-case basis. However, scoliosis that requires treatment is generally managed in these ways:
Many children are treated by bracing. A brace will be worn all day or for eight to twelve hours a day. The braces that must be worn all day can be taken off for special occasions, bathing, and personal hygiene. There are three main types of braces used by scoliosis doctors:
- Wilmington Brace - jacket-style brace that is custom molded to your child’s body
- Boston Brace - jacket-style that uses pads to correct the spine and will include custom cutouts
- Milwaukee Brace - an older design and less popular brace style
In most cases, your child will have to be fitted with a new custom brace every year or year-and-a-half. Bracing has an high success rate and the research that has been performed on these treatment methods is extensive.
Often a full-time cast will be worn by the child before they wear a brace or by younger, uncooperative children. A casting can delay the need for a brace and correct the deformity substantially: it is incredibly effective. However, a cast poses many inconveniences such as difficulty bathing and some discomfort.
Traction is another option that can be an effective option for some patients, especially those who suffer from weakness, skin or chest wall intolerance, mental retardation, or aggressive spine curvatures. Treatment begins when a ring is attached to the patient’s skull with pins.
Traction is then applied. Surgery is often the next step when a child requires a traction treatment plan.