Child Orthopedics

Frequently Asked Questions

We just found out our eight-year-old has childhood scoliosis. We're going to a special clinic next week to get a special nighttime brace. How well do these work? What should we expect?

Your child may have a form of scoliosis called Juvenile Idiopathic Scoliosis (JIS). Juvenile means it occurs before the child enters puberty (around age 13). Most children with JIS present with signs or symptoms between three and 10 years of age.

That means a long course of treatment until the child reaches skeletal maturity. Scoliosis tends to get worse during growth spurts. So children must be monitored closely and treated sooner than later.

The Charleston nighttime brace works well because it can be worn while the child is sleeping. It does not have to be worn during the day, at school, or during social or athletic events. This makes compliance with nighttime wear more likely.

The brace is made based on measurements and fittings taken by an orthotist (brace maker). The child is bent to the opposite side of the curve. The brace is formed to the body in this position. The idea is to try and hold the spine in a neutral position as much as possible while the child is relaxed in sleep.

Expect that your child will be wearing a part-time brace for at least one year. The average length of brace wear time is more like three or four years. The brace may have to be redone as the child grows.

James Jarvis, MD, FRCSC, et al. Juvenile Idiopathic Scoliosis. The Effectiveness of Part-Time Bracing. May 1, 2008. Vol. 33. No. 10. Pp. 1074-1078.

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