When members of the Scoliosis Research Society gather this fall to observe the 50th anniversary of the renowned organization’s founding, one of IBJI’s experts will be on hand for the celebration. Steven Mardjetko, MD, is among the most highly regarded physicians in the world when it comes to scoliosis research, treatment and innovation. Dr. Mardjetko has been treating pediatric patients with spinal deformities since the 1980s. Over that time, he has witnessed and been part of some extraordinary advances in terms of how pediatric spine specialists diagnose, evaluate, and treat scoliosis and other pediatric spinal deformities. Below are some of the key developments in scoliosis knowledge from a recent interview with Dr. Mardjetko.
#1 - We now have definitive proof that bracing is effective.
The use of braces to correct abnormal spine shape has shifted in and out of favor over the past 50 years. Back in the 1970s, braces were standard treatment protocol for children and adolescents with spinal deformities like scoliosis. Questions arose, however, about the efficacy of brace treatment in the 1980s and some physicians stopped advising patients to use them, opting instead for surgical intervention. According to Dr. Mardjetko, bracing has now been rigorously researched and evaluated. Key research findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine confirm that bracing significantly decreases the progression of high-risk curves to the threshold for surgery in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. (Weinstein, M.D. Stuart L., et al. “Effects of Bracing in Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis.” New England Journal of Medicine 369:1512-1521 (2013). Dolan, Ph.D., Lori A., et al) “Bracing works,” says Dr. Mardjetko, “and it frequently eliminates the need for surgery.”