Casting for Early Onset Scoliosis

Casting for early onset scoliosis (EOS) has received a renewed interest in recent years.  Scoliosis is a 3-diminensional deformity of the spine including the frontal, sagittal, and axial planes.  One challenge of early onset scoliosis is not only preventing progression, but also allowing the rib cage grow so that lungs can mature and function normally as your child ages.  Fortunately, the prognosis for EOS has improved significantly over the past 10 years.

Casting Process

The COA Spine team utilizes a style of casting known as Elongation-Derotation-Flexion (EDF) casting.  We use a specially designed table that assists with application of the cast.  EDF casting is a non-surgical technique that uses a custom-made cast that fits over the torso based on a three-dimensional correction concept. EDF casting can control progression of the spinal curve, and in some cases may actually be corrective.  In some cases, casting may be used as the definitive treatment for a child with early onset scoliosis.  Unfortunately, casting is not 100% effective in correcting scoliosis in young children.  For this group of children, EDF casting is used as a delay tactic to slow the progression of a spinal curve and delay the time in which surgery may be recommended.  As mentioned previously, this delay is important as the chest wall and lungs need to grow and mature prior to any fusion-type surgical correction to this area.

What to Expect

The casts are typically worn for 3 months at a time and occasionally combined with bracing to allow for periods of rest from the cast.  The casts will either fit under the arms to the waist, or occasionally over the shoulders down to the waist depending on the location of the spinal curve.

About COA

COA has paired with the CHOA spine program and have one of the highest volume centers in the United States for treating early onset scoliosis.  When seeking treatment for spinal curves it is important to look for an institution where a high volume of procedures are performed, where there is an excellent support staff, and where the anesthesia team is experienced in working with patients and families with EOS.   If your child has been diagnosed with Early Onset Scoliosis, make an appointment to see one of our expert providers today.

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