25 June 2021
In recognition of the Scoliosis Association’s International Scoliosis Awareness Day, on the 26th of June 2021, here’s a run-down of what patients can expect from our end-to-end treatment package for scoliosis.
The scoliosis treatment package provided at LOC extends beyond physiotherapy and bracing.
We have worked alongside this patient group for a long time and recognize the anxieties and concerns that come with this condition and the treatment that we offer.
We support our patients in any way we can and therefore we have put in place several different types of support:
Throughout treatment, members of our scoliosis team are readily available to answer any concerns about their Gensingen brace by whatever means patients wish to contact them - e-mail, phone, Whatsapp, Facetime etc.
There is an online Schroth support group hosted by our specialist physiotherapist, Debs, where patients can check out whether they are on track with their exercises and get tips if they are finding any particular exercise difficult.
Group Schroth exercises: as we progress out of lockdown, we are re-introducing these popular group sessions where teenage girls can benefit from sharing their experiences and realising they are not ‘alone.
By consent, we can put patients in touch with each other to buddy up and share their treatment progress. Some of our patients have forged new friendships this way.
Some adolescents struggle to come to terms with their diagnosis and wearing a brace. Although they know the treatment is going to help, it can still feel like another hurdle to overcome. We have been working with some therapists we can highly recommend supporting these patients. This support can be provided remotely to cut down on time out of school.
Finally, and on a very practical note, we have designed our own brace vest. This is in response to patient comments about what is currently available to wear under a brace. It is a lightweight, thin, seamless, tight-fitting vest that is worn under the brace as a skin: brace interface. The vest shape is designed specifically for the Cheneau-Gensingen brace.
The operation used to treat severe scoliosis curves is typically spinal fusion surgery; a major procedure that involves moving muscles and realigning the skeleton into place. The curved, deformed vertebrae are fused together into a single bone, putting metal screws and rods into the spine to help straighten it. Surgery typically lasts between 4 and 8 hours depending on the severity of the curve. Bone graft is then taken from other parts of the body and used to cover the implants.
Following the operation, it is necessary to spend around a week in intensive care before returning home and the first few days are often uncomfortable. Most adolescents can expect to return to school from 2-4 weeks following surgery, but pain medication may be required up to 6 weeks following. A full recovery from the procedure can take up to a year, as it can take that long for the spine to heal fully.
Spinal fusion surgery causes the fused portion of the back to become permanently stiff, as a result, returning to sports that require large amounts of flexibility (ballet, yoga, gymnastics, dance) or contact (rugby, football, karate, hockey) may take longer.
Currently, I am wearing my pectus brace for 12-14 hours a day and I am very happy with the results of my treatment. I am very grateful to all the amazing people at LOC and I want to thank them for helping me so much. In the year and a half since my treatment started, I have come so far and I am incredibly happy with the results and I am incredibly happy that I persevered.
If you say something is going to be easy it will be easy and if you say something will be hard it will be hard. So, I'm just going to say that wearing my brace is easy. And as it turns out, it really is.
The brace is very light. Obviously, the first couple of days we were told it was going to be uncomfortable for her, I bought so many pillows! But although the first night was not very comfortable, the second night she got used to it and then she was wearing it all day long and I thought ‘that’s brilliant!’ She was only taking it off for two or three hours to go out with friends or do the exercises, but she didn’t have any problems really.
My results are amazing and unexpected, and I am glad that I received the brace through LOC. I am still wearing the brace 18 months later and my back feels even straighter. Thanks to LOC I realised that I wanted to help people with similar if not the same condition as me, so I am now going to Salford University in September to study Orthotics and Prosthetics so I will hopefully be able to help others with Scoliosis as much as LOC has helped me.
Don’t wait. It’s about the children because they are more likely to be confident in their late teens if you act quickly and support them. We have been lucky because we understand the condition well. That’s one of the main things, to be honest. It was hard work, but it pays off in the end.
Obviously, the results speak for themselves. If I were to give any advice [to parents in a similar position] it would be to contact LOC. Ricarda likes it there, she loves the people and felt really comfortable, everything was really relaxed and nice.
She’s wearing the brace all the time now and she’s doing very well. She’s very good at school too, the brace doesn’t get in the way of anything. It fits underneath her school uniform and you can’t see it. Sometimes I even have to ask her when she’s sitting down if she’s wearing it because I can’t see it! She says ‘of course mummy’ and I say ‘let me try!’ I have to knock through the clothes and only then can I hear she’s wearing the brace!
He’s been very positive since the first day and this determination has certainly paid off. In just two months, Rares’s Cobb angle has reduced from 52֯ to 24֯ in a brace and his ribcage has de-rotated from 18֯ to 12֯, so the rib hump has significantly improved.