Casting a New Light on Scoliosis

Scoliosis casting can result in complete correction for many early onset scoliosis patients.

Scoliosis, an abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine, can occur in infants and very young children – and early detection is key to achieving the best possible outcome.

When scoliosis occurs in children under three years of age, it is called infantile, or early onset scoliosis. Left untreated, this condition can be debilitating and even life-threatening, as the twisting spine puts pressure on the growing heart and lungs. A breakthrough technique known as scoliosis casting is changing the way that doctors are treating their youngest patients.

There is no known cause for early onset scoliosis. The condition is rare, but there are telltale signs for parents, pediatricians, and primary care physicians to look for during the early months and years of a child’s life. These include asymmetry in the shoulders and back, or one side of the back protruding as the child bends forward.

Current scoliosis treatments can be cumbersome or ineffective.

For decades, parents of infants and children diagnosed with early onset scoliosis have had two primary treatment options to consider. The first is the brace, which offers only limited success, in large part due to compliance issues. Because a brace can be taken on and off, parents often face huge challenges in keeping their children in them. The second is surgery, which is often a less-than-ideal option as most operations result in a shortened spine and poorly developed chest and lungs.

A breakthrough technique known as scoliosis casting is changing the way that doctors are treating their youngest patients.

Breakthrough treatment

Physicians have developed a breakthrough treatment known as scoliosis casting. In this technique, a child is placed under general anesthesia so that the body is completely relaxed. After manipulating the spine into a better position, physicians carefully apply a body cast around the patient’s chest and abdomen.  

Scoliosis casting relies on the growth potential of the young spine to correct the abnormal curvature, with the cast guiding the spine into normal alignment. The cast is changed every three to six months, gradually straightening the spine. Scoliosis casting results in a complete correction for a significant number of patients, making surgery unnecessary. Even in cases where the results are less dramatic, the cast treatment works well in delaying surgery to a time when it is safer to undertake, around age 10 for girls and 12 for boys.

Physicians have found that children adapt surprisingly well to scoliosis casting. The treatment allows them to sleep, bathe, run, and even play in their casts, making the experience easier for both children and parents alike.

Tags: pediatrics, orthopedics, scoliosis casting, spine, article
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Casting a New Light on Scoliosis

Scoliosis casting can result in complete correction for many early onset scoliosis patients.

Scoliosis, an abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine, can occur in infants and very young children – and early detection is key to achieving the best possible outcome.

When scoliosis occurs in children under three years of age, it is called infantile, or early onset scoliosis. Left untreated, this condition can be debilitating and even life-threatening, as the twisting spine puts pressure on the growing heart and lungs. A breakthrough technique known as scoliosis casting is changing the way that doctors are treating their youngest patients.

There is no known cause for early onset scoliosis. The condition is rare, but there are telltale signs for parents, pediatricians, and primary care physicians to look for during the early months and years of a child’s life. These include asymmetry in the shoulders and back, or one side of the back protruding as the child bends forward.

Current scoliosis treatments can be cumbersome or ineffective.

For decades, parents of infants and children diagnosed with early onset scoliosis have had two primary treatment options to consider. The first is the brace, which offers only limited success, in large part due to compliance issues. Because a brace can be taken on and off, parents often face huge challenges in keeping their children in them. The second is surgery, which is often a less-than-ideal option as most operations result in a shortened spine and poorly developed chest and lungs.

A breakthrough technique known as scoliosis casting is changing the way that doctors are treating their youngest patients.

Breakthrough treatment

Physicians have developed a breakthrough treatment known as scoliosis casting. In this technique, a child is placed under general anesthesia so that the body is completely relaxed. After manipulating the spine into a better position, physicians carefully apply a body cast around the patient’s chest and abdomen.  

Scoliosis casting relies on the growth potential of the young spine to correct the abnormal curvature, with the cast guiding the spine into normal alignment. The cast is changed every three to six months, gradually straightening the spine. Scoliosis casting results in a complete correction for a significant number of patients, making surgery unnecessary. Even in cases where the results are less dramatic, the cast treatment works well in delaying surgery to a time when it is safer to undertake, around age 10 for girls and 12 for boys.

Physicians have found that children adapt surprisingly well to scoliosis casting. The treatment allows them to sleep, bathe, run, and even play in their casts, making the experience easier for both children and parents alike.

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