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news News Tuesday, February 13, 2018 Tuesday, February 13, 2018 8:59 PM - Tuesday, February 13, 2018 8:59 PM

Honolulu Shriners Hospital introduces new scoliosis treatment

Honolulu Shriners Hospital introduces new scoliosis treatment

When children with scoliosis come to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu, the orthopaedic surgeons work to correct the curve in the patients’ backs and prevent it from getting worse so the patient does not have to undergo surgery. Usually that is done with a thoracolumbo-sacral orthosis (TLSO) brace. However, the Honolulu Shriners Hospital has begun offering the new Chêneau brace, along with scoliosis specific exercises (SSE).

Ken Mandler, manager of orthotics and prosthetics“Any scoliosis brace is only helpful if it is worn as prescribed per the doctor’s instructions,” said Ken Mandler, manager of orthotics and prosthetics at the Honolulu Shriners Hospital. “Research has shown that any type of scoliosis brace is 90 percent successful if worn at least 17 hours per day on average.”

Designed by Hans-Rudolf Weiss, M.D., of Gensingen, Germany, the Chêneau brace features an asymmetrical design to straighten the spine. It targets two sections of the spine (the thoracic spine in the middle and the lumbar spine at the lower back) and opens in the front, which makes it easy to take on and off. The Chêneau brace is made from modified polyethylene, which is lighter and more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time than other braces. Patients are able to start wearing the brace full time immediately, with no breaking-in period. This is because measurements, photos, X-rays and a 3-D scan are required for the Chêneau brace, unlike most braces, which only require X-rays and measurements.

Mandler and Tammi Asato, certified orthotist with the Honolulu Shriners Hospital, are the only orthotists trained in the Chêneau brace technique in Hawaii. They work with Michele Chee, D.P.T., who is the only physical therapist on O‘ahu providing SSE therapies for pediatric patients. Chee teaches patients a variety of positional exercises using props such as a wall bar. To complete the exercises, patients learn how to activate specific muscles and use breathing techniques to obtain optimal spinal alignment.

Dr. Weiss, (inventor of the Chêneau brace), is the grandson of Katharina Schroth, who developed the Schroth method of scoliosis exercises in 1927, on which the SSE program is based. According to Mandler, kids can feel the Chêneau brace hold them in the position that they feel in their exercises. “They are shocked when they see the in-brace X-rays and the correction gained wearing the brace,” he said.

“Personally, I feel the most important aspect of the brace that leads to its success is the asymmetrical design. Patients are more apt to be compliant about wearing a brace once they see their corrected X-rays. “I would recommend parents do their due diligence and find the best brace, orthotist and physician for their individual child,” Mandler said. “We have a responsibility to provide the highest quality orthoses for our patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children. Parents are entrusting us with the care of their children and counting on our knowledge and expertise to provide their kids with the best possible treatment outcomes.

If you think your child has scoliosis or would like a spinal exam for your child from one of our expert pediatric orthopaedic surgeons, please call our main line at 808-941-4466 to make an appointment.