Underarm Bracing May Slow Scoliosis Progression in Adults

A study published online June 22 in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found that a custom-molded underarm lumbar-sacral orthosis (LSO) could be effective in slowing the progression rate of scoliosis in adults. The retrospective cohort study followed outpatients in two tertiary care hospitals in France. Thirty-eight adults with nonoperated progressive idiopathic or degenerative scoliosis were treated with the LSOs, with a minimum follow-up time of ten years before bracing and five years after bracing. The LSO was prescribed to be worn for a minimum of six hours per day. Progression was defined as a variation in Cobb angle equal to or greater than 10 degrees between the first and the last radiograph before bracing.

At the time of bracing, the cohort's mean age was 61.3 years (± 8.2) and its mean Cobb angle was 49.6 degrees (± 17.7 degrees). The mean follow-up time was 22 years (± 11.1) before bracing and 8.7 years (± 3.3) after bracing. For both types of scoliosis, the rate of progression decreased from 1.28 degrees per year (± 0.79) before to 0.21 degrees (± 0.43) after bracing. For degenerative and idiopathic scoliosis, the rate of progression dropped from 1.47 degrees per year (± 0.83) before to 0.24 degrees (± 0.43) after bracing, and 0.70 degrees per year (± 0.06) before to 0.24 degrees (± 0.43) after, respectively.