It is natural for your child to start asking how long they will have to wear a back brace for scoliosis, especially if they have to wear it almost all of the time. But the good news is that all of the dedication pays off, even if they outgrow more than one on their journey toward being finished with pediatric bracing forever.
Of course, they may go through more than one brace as their growth spurt hits. If your preteen or teen is being treated with a scoliosis brace in Arkansas or elsewhere, they probably already have a great health care team available to answer questions about timing — but there is much you can do to reassure them.
Outgrowing an Existing Brace
As your child heads into their growth spurt, brace parts or the brace itself may need replacing before full treatment is over. Depending on the severity and nature of your child’s scoliosis, they may be wearing a rigid brace such as a Boston brace. Rigid braces are molded to the shape of their body at the time of scoliosis diagnosis, based on customized measurements.
As they grow, the rigid type of braces are more likely to be outgrown than the softer kind. When or if your child may outgrow a brace before treatment is complete is difficult to predict. Much of it depends on how much growing they still had to do at the time the original brace was made.
Outgrowing the Need for Brace
The timing of a back brace often depends on how early a problematic spine curvature is caught. Fortunately, most scoliosis cases are caught soon enough to make a difference, because a pediatrician can easily check spine angles during regular examinations.
Research shows that the longer a teen wears a brace; the better chance they have to avoid surgery. That length of time does not refer to the number of years they wear it, but rather to how many hours of the day the brace stays on.
A recent study released by the New England Journal of Medicine found that kids who wear a brace more than 13 hours a day were far more likely to correct their spine curvatures to the point that surgery was avoided. And once that curvature is corrected and growth is not expected to be a complication, teens will be able to stop wearing the brace — and avoid surgery.
It might be a good idea to share these studies with your child, especially if they have to wear the brace 23 hours a day. It can certainly be tempting for teens with scoliosis braces to “cheat,” and leave their brace off for longer than the daily hours recommended. But that action could actually extend the months or years of wearing the pediatric brace.
Do not hesitate to contact us by calling (501) 683-8889 if you have questions about timing or other questions related to pediatric bracing in Arkansas.