How is scoliosis treated in spinal muscle atrophy (SMA)?

Updated: Aug 11, 2020
  • Author: Ashish S Ranade, MBBS, MS, MRCS; Chief Editor: Jeffrey A Goldstein, MD  more...
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Scoliosis (curvature of the spine) occurs at some point in virtually all children with type I or II SMA and in some with type III SMA. The degree of the scoliosis is a factor in determining how to treat it. Because scoliosis can restrict breathing and pulmonary function, necessary treatment measures should be implemented early. Options for managing scoliosis include custom seating systems, seating aids, and a body jacket. Later, spinal surgery may have to be considered.

Bracing plays only a limited role in scoliosis associated with SMA. There is a paucity of literature on the subject. In one study, the Garches brace was studied in children with type 1b SMA. [57]  In this group, use of the brace was shown to help with sitting and upright head posture, thereby contributing to an improvement in quality of life. In 25 children, Garches brace treatment was started at an early age; subsequently, 72% needed spinal fusion after a mean of 10.6 years.

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