A team of researchers from Italy and France have conducted a study to compare the short-term x-ray results of two super-rigid braces for use in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS): the Asymmetrical, Rigid, Torsion (ART) brace, similar to a Lyon brace, and a Symmetric, Patient-oriented, Rigid, Three-dimensional, active SPoRT brace-specifically the Sforzesco brace. The study was published online August 11 in the journal Scoliosis and Spinal Disorders.
The study was a multicenter, matched case-control design. Inclusion criteria included a Cobb angle greater than 40 degrees, a Risser sign between 0-4, and patient age of ten years and older. Twenty-six patients were treated with the ART brace for six months. They were matched with a group of 26 similar patients who were treated with the Sforzesco brace. Patients were matched according to Cobb severity, curve pattern, and localization of the curve. All patients had a full-time brace prescription of 23 to 24 hours per day and an indication to perform scoliosis-specific exercises. All patients were assessed radiographically both immediately in the brace and after six months of treatment out of brace. Curves were analyzed according to the pattern and localization, taking into consideration the in-brace correction and the six-month out-of-brace results.
The immediate in-brace correction was slightly better for the ART brace, but didn’t reach statistical significance (24.3 ± 8.5 vs. 28.0 ± 6.8 for thoracic; 23.7 ± 10.4 vs. 29.9 ± 4.2 for lumbar/thoracolumbar). At six months, results were similar for thoracic (34.4 ± 10.4 vs.34.8 ± 6.8) and for lumbar/thoracolumbar (32.8 ± 10.8 vs. 36.6 ± 5.2) correction. Also, with regard to the pattern, results were similar for double major and for thoracic curves, while there was not enough data for single lumbar curves to make a comparison. No differences for angle of trunk location (ATR) were found (7.8 ± 3.2 vs. 8.6 ± 2.9 for thoracic; 4.3 ± 3.4 vs. 4.3 ± 3.7 for lumbar/thoracolumbar).
The researchers concluded that these two super-rigid braces showed similar short-term results, despite the better in-brace correction for lumbar curves shown by the ART brace. According to their data, the asymmetric design showed results similar to the symmetric one. After these preliminary data, they said further studies are needed to check end-growth results and the impact of compliance, rigidity of curve, exercise, and assessing quality of life.
Editor’s note: The study authors have material interests in the braces.