Posted by: | 2018/12/12


9-year-old has to go into back brace

Hi there Doc My 9 year old daughter has been diagnosed with kyphosis of 58 degrees. Her ortho advised she needs to go into a back brace and probably remain in it till she is about 15. I cannot face the thought of her in the brace. She is a very active dancer and its breaking my heart that this rigid plastic brace will be her future for 23 hours a day for 6 years. My question is: She is extremely flexible. She is very double jointed, can contort her body into the smallest spaces. She can do the splits, lift her legs behind her head and is able to manipulate her joints in strange positions. Is this not contributing to the fact that she has kyphosis? Will her back not just return to its original position after it comes out of the brace because of her hypermobility? What causes hypermobility? I am concerned she will need an operation regardless of wearing the brace. Her dream is to become a dancer so a spinal fusion will put an end to that dream. However, I would rather her enjoy her childhood years and then have an op at 16 than spending 6 years in a back brace only to land up needing an operation anyway.

Expert's Reply


- 2018/12/13

When kyphosis is over 50 degrees it usually requires some form of treatment. This depends on the type of kyphosis as there are 3 forms of kyphosis. Treatment can range from simple muscle and postural exercises to braces. Surgery is usually not recommended before growth is complete during late adolescence and only where treatment with braces has failed. At this stage where your daughter is only 9 years,she would probably benefit from postural exercises,muscle strengthening exercises and physiotherapy. As far as I am aware, braces are usually only advised during adolescence and surgery only in a relatively small number of adolescents. My advice would be for her to get a second opinion. She should be seen by a paediatric orthopaedic specialist with experience in spinal problems. Hopefully all she will require at this stage will be physiotherapy. Read up about 'kyphosis in children' on Google

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user comments


Posted by: Anonymous | 2019/01/08

Thank you for your thoughtfull advice! We have commenced pilates twice a day and will be seeing a schroth physio in March (the first appointment we could get). She only weighs 20kg and is under weight for her height and age. In order to build the additional muscles in her back, hips, buttocks and hamstrings (she is so strong in front and so weak in the back) we have also started a diet that is focused on weight gain for her. This is easier said than done. :-) I have gotten an appointment for her with Dr Zondagh who is a spinal deformity specialist lets see what he says.

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