whose spines are crooked now stand a better
chance of avoiding surgery with a new body
brace that prevents their condition from
shown that 77 per cent of scoliosis patients
do not need surgery to prop up their spines
after using the new brace, called SpineCor,
compared with just 21 per cent of those who
use the conventional one.
The new brace,
made of a series of elastic bands adjusted
to fit each patient, is also more comfortable,
flexible and is easier on the eye than the
conventional brace made of hard plastic.
are important because they allow patients
to carry out most daily activities, including
sports, while wearing them. Thus patients
are more likely to wear them the whole day
as recommended, said Dr Kevin Lim, consultant
orthopaedic surgeon at KK Women's and Children's
Hospital (KKH), which started fitting patients
with the new brace in January.
'With the old brace, only 50 per cent of
the patients wore them most of the day. If
they don't wear it, it's not doing what it's
supposed to do.'
whose spine is bent at an angle of between
25 and 40 degrees is asked to wear a brace
for 20 to 22 hours daily. This does not correct
the existing curvature, but it reduces the
risk of the spine becoming even more crooked.
If the curvature
grows to 40 to 50 degrees despite the brace,
surgery is required. This involves inserting
metal implants such as rods and screws to
'fuse' the spine in a straight position.
introduced the new brace, all its patients
who need bracing have chosen it over the
old one, Dr Lim said. And most of them have
been wearing it for the recommended 20 hours
So far, 17
patients have been fitted with the new brace,
and seven more have made appointments to
But KKH will
still offer the old brace as an option for
those who cannot afford the new one. The
total cost of the new brace, fitting and
physiotherapy sessions can go up to $3,700,
about four to five times that of a conventional
Choo, an executive in her 40s, opted for
the new brace for her 12-year-old daughter
new brace, Loraine has taken part in her
physical education classes and played volleyball,
which would not have been possible with the
is a condition where the spine is curved
sideways at an angle of more than 10 degrees.
Its exact cause is not known. About 2 per
cent of girls here, aged between 11 and 12,
have scoliosis. Seven times more girls are
affected than boys.
develop it during their teenage years, usually
between the ages of 10 and 18, when they
are experiencing growth spurts. Any treatment
required is usually given during this period
as patients' conditions are unlikely to worsen
significantly after puberty.