Scoliosis Suit Research Published
New peer reviewed research published in Scoliosis and Spinal Disorders Journal has provided evidence into the positive effects of Dynamic Movement Fabric Orthoses for the management of scoliosis in children. The research paper entitled, “The Use of Dynamic Elastomeric Fabric Orthosis Suits as an Orthotic Intervention in the Management of Children with Neuropathic Onset Scoliosis: A Retrospective Audit of Routine Clinical Case Notes” was written by; Martin Matthews, Suzanne Blandford, Jonathan Marsden and Jennifer Freeman and is the first substantial clinical study to document the effectiveness of orthotic devices in relation to neuropathic onset scoliosis.
The study looked at the clinical notes of 180 patients collated over 10 years from 5 separate paediatric physiotherapy departments within the NHS, which were audited independently by researchers at Plymouth University, Devon.
The patients notes were divided into three categories: 1. Those diagnosed with scoliosis 2. Those with a developing spinal curve 3. Those not diagnosed with scoliosis. The 3rd group contained children with neuro-muscular conditions which would have the potential to develop into scoliosis.
Of the 180 individual cases 121 were prescribed a Dynamic Movement Fabric Orthosis (DEFO), 18 were prescribed some form of rigid bracing and 41 were not prescribed an orthosis.
The study has produced some very interesting results, putting forward some very plausible evidence for the wider use of DEFO’s in the management and prevention of neuropathic onset scoliosis in children; and as a positive alternative to rigid bracing and invasive surgery.
The study showed that the use of a DEFO greatly improved the chances of patient compliance with an orthotics device (98% of patients were willing to wear them) and also showed that 42% of children who had been diagnosed with scoliosis and prescribed a DEFO, saw their condition improve or not progress. 12% of scoliosis patients were found to no longer need any intervention after an average period of 18 months.
The use of DEFO’s showed to have many other positive outcomes. The audit indicated that DEFO suits may enhance proprioceptive feedback, improving spatial awareness provided by compression to the spine, combined with downward compression on the shoulders and control around the pelvis to provide postural stability. The suits not only provide postural support and stability but also encourages muscle use, necessary to promote isometric movement and balanced spinal muscle tone.
The study also showed that 38% of cases who underwent surgery experienced complications such as; spinal rod breakage, excessive movement of fixations, infection and reduced head control. 36% of patients who underwent surgical intervention also experienced curve progression after surgery.
It also noted that only 1/3 of cases who were prescribed rigid bracing continued to use this form of orthosis with 11% converting to using a DEFO.
Early intervention using DEFO’s could also have a positive financial benefit to the NHS and privately funded healthcare. A recent study (Effects of bracing in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis, Weinstein et al) estimated the cost of surgical intervention for neuromuscular scoliosis to be US $50,096 (£32,000 approx). DEFO’s, by contrast, cost a fraction of this price.
The study concluded that DEFO’s could be an effective form of management of mild to moderate scoliosis in a range of neuromuscular conditions and that Cobb angle progression was typically minimal in those children using a DEFO. The results also provide some evidence for the potential for DEFO’s to be used in the future management of children at risk of developing and presenting with neuropathic onset scoliosis.
The full research paper, , “The Use of Dynamic Elastomeric Fabric Orthosis Suits as an Orthotic Intervention in the Management of Children with Neuropathic Onset Scoliosis: A Retrospective Audit of Routine Clinical Case Notes” (Matthews, Blandford, Marsden, Freeman) published by Scoliosis and Spinal Disorders Journal can be read here: