“The Boston Brace made it so that she couldn’t sleep at night, she couldn’t eat or keep food down. She was losing weight and was very unhappy and scared. At Scoliosis 3DC, it was the complete opposite. ”
J. L., Boston (November 2015)
Do you think a scoliosis brace should do more than just halt progression? Are you looking for a doctor who is knowledgeable about the most up-to-date and effective conservative treatment methods? Would you like your child to have the potential to improve their curves?
Bracing is the foundation of conservative treatment for adolescents with progressive scoliosis. While each case of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is different, if your child’s curvature is over 20 – 25º and (s)he still has growth potential, bracing is usually the most prudent path.
When it comes to scoliosis bracing, some of the concepts still in use today–even by the best hospitals and facilities–are dated. The medical establishment’s stated goal for bracing scoliosis is halted progression. In the paper, A History of Bracing for Idiopathic Scoliosis in North America, the authors state, “The goals of brace treatment for AIS are to prevent progression of deformity and to obviate the need for spinal fusion, not to improve the deformity1.”
In our opinion, those goals are simply not ambitious enough for kids who require bracing. It’s one of the main reasons why we introduced the Gensingen Brace® here in North America.
Like the Boston, the Gensingen Brace® is rigid, although it’s made from a more forgiving and lighter weight material. Otherwise, the Gensingen Brace® differs significantly from the traditional Boston Brace. Both aim to halt a progressive scoliosis–but with the Gensinengen brace® that is the minimum goal, not the primary goal. It offers several benefits over other braces as well. As an asymmetric, over-corrective brace, its main advantage is to offer the possibility for scoliosis improvement by attempting to reduce Cobb angle(s) and improve posture2.
Another benefit for patients is that it is more wearable than the Boston Brace, according to the many kids who have switched. Each Gensingen is a custom-designed, curve-pattern-specific, Schroth method compatible brace. Voids, or strategically placed openings, allow for easier breathing–Schroth rotational breathing–which attempts to de-rotate spinal vertebrae.
In-brace corrections are consistently in the 30 – 50% range, with some patients attaining even better in-brace corrections. The potential for Cobb angle improvement and better posture with improved wearability is a big win for scoliosis patients. An essential element of effective bracing is comfort. Easier wearability usually leads to improved compliance, and less complaining! Since it’s been determined that amount of time in a brace factors into outcome (other factors will play a role as well), the importance of wearability can’t be overstated.
Each brace is designed from a 3D scan (no radiation). Casting, although rarely used to create braces today, is eliminated due to its CAD/CAM design. Measuring for the brace is easy.
The importance of CAD/CAM standardization cannot be emphasized enough. Being able to eliminate casting means a less stressful and less invasive patient experience. Standardization offers improved accuracy in manufacture and fit. On the other hand, lack of standardization, a problem for some other Chêneau-style braces leads to varied results. It’s one reason why some Rigo System Chêneau (RSC) braces share the same name, but look and fit quite differently depending on the person who makes and fits the brace. For more, read our blog entitled, Not All Chêneau Braces Are Created Equal.
Let’s face it, no child wants to wear a brace and no brace is ‘easy’ to wear. However, what’s important to know is that bracing has now improved beyond the limitations of compressive bracing–essentially a hard plastic shell that squeezes a child’s torso. Moreover, many of these braces are still manufactured to fasten in back. This alone can make it frustrating and difficult when it’s time for a child to put their brace on and take it off.
We can confidently state that the Gensingen brace® is the best scoliosis brace available. This bold statement is based on the results we’ve seen patients achieve in Germany, in our own facility for the past five years, and by our colleagues in Europe and Asia. This statement has also been validated by patients who have worn various other scoliosis braces and switched to the Gensingen brace® for the potential to improve a previously progressive scoliosis.
If your child is having a difficult time wearing his/her Boston brace, struggling with a nighttime brace, or has another brace that you think could be improved upon then please call us to find out more about the potential of the Gensingen Brace® for your child. Our goal is to improve the scoliosis experience for each of our patients. A better brace may just be the starting point in terms of mood, attitude, comfort and/or outcome.
Managing scoliosis is an art as well as science. Applying the most up-to-date innovations is essential.
“She is tolerating the [Gensingen] brace she got in Boston much better than she ever tolerated the Boston brace. :)”
H.M., Guam (August 2015)
1Fayssoux RS, Cho RH, Herman MJ. A History of Bracing for Idiopathic Scoliosis in North America. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. 2010;468(3):654-664. doi:10.1007/s11999-009-0888-5.
2H R Weiss, M Moramarco (2013) Remodeling of trunk and back shape deformities in patients with scoliosis using standardized asymmetric CAD / CAM braces. Hard Tissue 2(2): 2. 14 Feb.