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Conservative management in patients with scoliosis--does it reduce the incidence of surgery?

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Asklepios Katharina-Schroth-Klinik, Korczakstr. 2, D-55566 Bad Sobernheim.


The effectiveness of conservative scoliosis treatment, including bracing, is widely denied. Like any therapeutic intervention, conservative scoliosis treatment including patient education, techniques of brace moulding, and time-consuming follow-ups is reasonable only if the benefits outweigh the strain placed upon the patient by the treatment. The most important benefit of early intervention in scoliosis is prevention of the need for spinal fusion surgery. Retrospective analysis of the incidence of surgery for patients with scoliosis, by comparison with incidence in an untreated control group. Since 1992 the bracing technique according to ChĂȘneau has been applied in parallel with the scoliosis inpatient intensive rehabilitation programme (SIR). For this study we chose from our data base the scoliosis patients who had conservative treatment at our center between 1993 and 1996. All patients, like those of the control group, were at least 15 years of age at the time they were evaluated for the last time. The incidence of surgery of our group was compared with that reported by a center in Ireland. Of 343 female scoliosis patients with a curve angle of 33.4 AE (SD=18.9), 41 (11.95%) had surgery. The incidence of surgery of our collective was significantly lower than the incidence of surgery of the control group which reported an incidence of 28,1%. The AIS matched group of patients (n = 179) had an incidence of surgery of slightly more than 7%. When compared with a matched control group of untreated patients, incidence of surgery was significantly reduced by SIR combined with bracing. So conservative management is indicated in patients with scoliosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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