Study design: Survey. Objectives: Bracing is the mainstay of conservative treatment in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS). The purpose of this study was to establish best practice guidelines (BPG) among a multidisciplinary group of international bracing experts including surgeons, physiatrists, physical therapists, and orthotists utilizing formal consensus building techniques. Summary of background data: Currently, there is significant variability in the practice of brace treatment for AIS and, therefore, there is a strong need to develop BPG for bracing in AIS. Methods: We utilized the Delphi process and the nominal group technique to establish consensus among a multidisciplinary group of bracing experts. Our previous work identified areas of variability in brace treatment that we targeted for consensus. Following a review of the literature, three iterative surveys were administered. Topics included bracing goals, indications for starting and discontinuing bracing, brace types, brace prescription, radiographs, physical activities, and physiotherapeutic scoliosis-specific exercises. A face-to-face meeting was then conducted that allowed participants to vote for or against inclusion of each item. Agreement of 80% throughout the surveys and face-to-face meeting was considered consensus. Items that did not reach consensus were discussed and revised and repeat voting for consensus was performed. Results: Of the 38 experts invited to participate, we received responses from 32, 35, and 34 for each survey, respectively. 11 surgeons, 4 physiatrists, 8 physical therapists, 3 orthotists, and 1 research scientist participated in the final face-to-face meeting. Experts reached consensus on 67 items across 10 domains of bracing which were consolidated into the final best practice recommendations. Conclusions: We believe that adherence to these BPG will lead to fewer sub-optimal outcomes in patients with AIS by reducing the variability in AIS bracing practices, and provide a framework future research. Level of evidence: Level IV.
- Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
- Best practice guideline
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine