Research Review: Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis Present Too Late for Effective Management with Bracing

Rosemary Marchese, Physiotherapist

Scoliosis treatment with bracing has been shown to be effective at minimising the risk of curve progression to the point of surgery for adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis (1). Despite this it is hard to know how many adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) are missing the opportunity for timely treatment at before the peak growth phase of puberty where scoliosis progression risk is often highest. Anthony et al (2021) conducted a retrospective cross sectional study to analyse the patient demographics referred for scoliosis to the Hospital for Sick Children.


What Were the Authors Looking for?

Essentially the authors were investigating whether or not patients with AIS were attending hospital early enough in their scoliosis journey for scoliosis bracing to be effective.


The majority of AIS patients in this study presented too late for effective management with bracing. In summary, out of the 335 children that met the inclusion criteria: 

  • 18% had curves beyond optimal curve range for bracing
  • 55% were skeletally mature, therefore not brace candidates.

Take Home Message

Bracing has been proven to be an effective treatment option for many patients with AIS. Early detection and referral for treatment is essential to ensure patients have the opportunity to get the right treatment at the right time. 

To read the full study please click here


  1. Weinstein, SL. Dolan, LA., Wright, JG., Dobbs, MB. Design of the Bracing in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Trial (BrAIST). Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2013 Oct 1;38(21):1832-41. doi: 10.1097/01.brs.0000435048.23726.3e. PMID: 24026162; PMCID: PMC4536980.
  2. Anthony, A., Zeller, R., Evans, C. and Dermott, JA. (2021). Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis detection and referral trends: impact treatment options. 


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