Effects of Bracing in Adult With Scoliosis: A Retrospective Study


      • Custom-molded lumbar-sacral orthoses could be effective in slowing down the progression rate of adult scoliosis.
      • Tolerance of the brace was good.
      • Bracing represents an interesting treatment option and an alternative to surgery.



      To assess the effectiveness of bracing in adult with scoliosis.


      Retrospective cohort study.


      Outpatients followed in 2 tertiary care hospitals.


      Adults (N=38) with nonoperated progressive idiopathic or degenerative scoliosis treated by custom-molded lumbar-sacral orthoses, with a minimum follow-up time of 10 years before bracing and 5 years after bracing. Progression was defined as a variation in Cobb angle ≥10° between the first and the last radiograph before bracing. The brace was prescribed to be worn for a minimum of 6h/d.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measure

      Rate of progression of the Cobb angle before and after bracing measured on upright 3-ft full-spine radiographs.


      At the moment of bracing, the mean age was 61.3±8.2 years, and the mean Cobb angle was 49.6°±17.7°. The mean follow-up time was 22.0±11.1 years before bracing and 8.7±3.3 years after bracing. For both types of scoliosis, the rate of progression decreased from 1.28°±.79°/y before to .21°±.43°/y after bracing (P<.0001). For degenerative and idiopathic scoliosis, it dropped from 1.47°±.83°/y before to .24°±.43°/y after bracing (P<.0001) and .70°±.06°/y before to .24°±.43°/y after bracing (P=.03), respectively.


      For the first time, to our knowledge, this study suggests that underarm bracing may be effective in slowing down the rate of progression in adult scoliosis. Further prospective studies are needed to confirm these results.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Anwar Z.
        • Zan E.
        • Gujar S.K.
        • et al.
        Adult lumbar scoliosis: underreported on lumbar MR scans.
        AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2010; 31: 832-837
        • Schwab F.
        • Dubey A.
        • Pagala M.
        • et al.
        Adult scoliosis: a health assessment analysis by SF-36.
        Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2003; 28: 602-606
        • Aebi M.
        The adult scoliosis.
        Eur Spine J. 2005; 14: 925-948
        • Marty-Poumarat C.
        • Scattin L.
        • Marpeau M.
        • et al.
        Natural history of progressive adult scoliosis.
        Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2007; 32: 1227-1234
        • Grubb S.A.
        • Lipscomb H.J.
        • Suh P.B.
        Results of surgical treatment of painful adult scoliosis.
        Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1994; 19: 1619-1627
        • Kluba T.
        • Dikmenli G.
        • Dietz K.
        • et al.
        Comparison of surgical and conservative treatment for degenerative lumbar scoliosis.
        Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2009; 129: 1-5
        • Weiss H.R.
        • Dallmayer R.
        Brace treatment of spinal claudication in an adult with lumbar scoliosis–a case report.
        Stud Health Technol Inform. 2006; 123: 586-589
        • Weiss H.R.
        • Dallmayer R.
        • Stephan C.
        First results of pain treatment in scoliosis patients using a sagittal realignment brace.
        Stud Health Technol Inform. 2006; 123: 582-585
        • Carman D.L.
        • Browne R.H.
        • Birch J.G.
        Measurement of scoliosis and kyphosis radiographs. Intraobserver and interobserver variation.
        J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1990; 72: 328-333
        • Weinstein S.L.
        • Dolan L.A.
        • Wright J.G.
        • et al.
        Effects of bracing in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis.
        N Engl J Med. 2013; 369: 1512-1521
        • van Poppel M.N.
        • de Looze M.P.
        • Koes B.W.
        • et al.
        Mechanisms of action of lumbar supports: a systematic review.
        Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2000; 25: 2103-2113