Stuart Weinstein, MD, and his team were awarded one of four 2015 Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) awards for their research in defining the natural history of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) and for proving the effectiveness of bracing for the treatment and prevention of surgery for AIS. The awards recognize scientists who are conducting outstanding clinical research related directly to musculoskeletal disease or injury, with the ultimate goal of advancing patient treatment and care. The awards were presented March 26 at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
According to the press release announcing the awards, Weinstein, the Ignacio V. Ponseti chair and professor of orthopaedic surgery and pediatrics at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, Iowa City, first determined the lifetime natural history of AIS by differentiating it from early onset scoliosis and scoliosis from other causes/etiologies. He then reviewed the outcomes of patients initially treated with a Milwaukee Brace, a body brace with attached vertical bars and a neck ring, and subsequently with the less-confining thoracic-lumbar-sacral orthosis (TLSO) brace, to determine whether or not the braces prevented further curve progression and the need for surgery.
“These studies highlighted the low quality of evidence and the conflicting studies on bracing effectiveness upon which treatment decisions were being made,” Weinstein was quoted as saying. The findings were the basis for a more in-depth, multicenter phase one clinical trial that found that “bracing is effective in preventing curves from reaching the surgical threshold of 50, and also that there is a dose effect with this treatment: wearing the brace more than 13 hours a day increases the chance of success to more than 90 percent.”
The research “has profoundly changed clinical practice for the physicians treating patients with AIS and has given patients and parents a solid evidence base upon which to make informed, patient-centered choices,” Weinstein said.