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Long-term results after Boston brace treatment in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Johan Emil Lange, Harald Steen and Jens Ivar Brox*

Author Affiliations

Orthopaedic Department, Rikshospitalet, Oslo University Hospital, Norway

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Scoliosis 2009, 4:17  doi:10.1186/1748-7161-4-17

Published: 26 August 2009



Few studies have evaluated long-term outcome after bracing using validated health related quality of life outcome measures. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the long-term outcome in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) 12 years or more after treatment with the Boston brace.


109 (80%) of 135 patients (7 men) with AIS treated with the Boston brace at a mean of 19.2 (range 12–28) years previously responded to long-term follow-up examination.

All patients (n = 109) answered a standardised questionnaire including demographics, work status, treatment, Global Back Disability Question, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) (100-worst possible), General Function Score (GFS) (100 – worst possible), EuroQol (EQ-5D) (1 – best possible), EQ-VAS (100 – best possible)) and Scoliosis Research Society -22 (SRS – 22) (5 – best possible). Clinical and radiological examination was obtained in 86 patients.


The magnitude of the primary prebrace major curve was in average 33.4° (range 20 – 52). At weaning and at the last follow-up the corresponding values were 28.3° (9–56) and 34.2° (8 – 87), respectively. The mean age at follow-up was 35 (27 – 46) years. Work status was: full time (80%), on sick-leave (3%), on rehabilitation (4%), disability pension (4%), homemaker (7%), students (2%), 7% had changed their job because of back pain. 88% had had delivered a baby, 55% of them had pain in pregnancy. Global back status was excellent or good in 81%. The mean (standard deviation) ODI was 6.4 (9.8), GFS 5.4 (10.5), EQ-5D 0.84 (0.2), SRS-22: pain 4.2 (0.8), mental health 4.2 (0.7), self-image 3.9 (0.7), function 4.1 (0.6), satisfaction with treatment 3.7 (1.0). 28% had taken physiotherapy for back pain the last year and 12% had visited a doctor.


Long-term results were satisfactory in most patients with AIS treated with the Boston brace.