What does BrAIST- Calc do?
BrAIST-Calc takes a few pieces of information about you and your spine and combines it with statistical information from patients like you who were in the BrAIST research study. It then calculates a personalized estimate of the chance your curve will worsen with and without bracing.
BrAIST- Calc is for you if:
• You have AIS.
• You are between 9 and 16 years old.
• Your scoliosis measures between 15 and 45 degrees.
• You are considering bracing treatment.
• You are concerned about your risk of scoliosis surgery.
BrAIST- Calc cannot estimate how much your curve might change – only if it will increase to the point where surgery is recommended. This is typically at 45-50 degrees in people who are still growing.
To read more go to About BrAIST-Calc
Frequently Asked Questions
Why would I want to use BrAIST-Calc?
Decisions about your health are not always easy! You have a choice about scoliosis treatment. You can do nothing, participate in a scoliosis-specific exercise program, wear a brace…or combine exercise and a brace. The same choice is not right for everyone.Sometimes it’s easier to make a decision if you have more information. That’s how BrAIST-Calc can help – by giving you more information about your risk and the possible benefit of wearing a brace. If you get a brace, BrAIST-Calc can help you decide how many hours of day are necessary for you.For example, maybe BrAIST-Calc shows the chance your curve will progress is very low. This might make you and your parents feel comfortable with not treating your scoliosis. Or maybe your risk is very high, but BrAIST-Calc shows that the risk can be a lot lower if your wear a brace for 18 hours a day. This might make you feel that by wearing a brace you have some control over your scoliosis and future health.
How Accurate is BrAIST-Calc?
It is important to remember that no mathematical model is 100% accurate. Think of the weather forecast or recommendations from Netflix. Both use existing information to predict what might happen in the future – the chance it will rain or the chance that you’ll like a movie. As they say “Individual results may vary” and that’s why we say that the estimates from BrAIST-Calc are just ONE piece of information you should use when making a decision about scoliosis treatment.
Shouldn’t everyone with scoliosis just go ahead and get a brace just in case the curve might get worse?
It probably won’t hurt someone to get a brace even if they don’t really need one. BUT, doctors usually only prescribe braces for patients whose curves are at least 20 degrees and they’re still growing because these are the patients at higher risk for their curve getting worse. If you have health insurance, your insurance company may not pay for a brace if you don’t meet the generally accepted criteria scoliosis experts use to recommend bracing.
If my curve gets bigger, do I HAVE to have surgery?
Just like you can choose between observation and wearing a brace, you can choose between having surgery or not having surgery. Surgery for AIS is never an emergency. Many people with larger curves live long, healthy lives. Your doctor should explain the benefits and the risks of surgery to you in a balanced and impartial manner. Hopefully you never have a discussion about surgery, but if you do, please remember there is no hurry and you can take your time to get as much information as you need to decide what is best for you.
There are a lot of websites, videos and information on the web and on social media. Be careful! Not all of that information about scoliosis and treatment is accurate. Here are some websites and videos that you can trust.
The effectiveness of bracing
Children who are at risk should be treated with a brace, and they should wear it at least 13 hours a day for it to be effective.
Click to read more!
University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital
What is Scoliosis?
Children’s Hospital of Colorado
Daytime Bracing for Scoliosis
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital
Setting Scoliosis Straight Foundation
Izzy's Scoliosis Story: Bracing
Setting Scoliosis Straight Foundation
My Scoliosis Journey
- Leigh Davis, CPO (Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta)
- Samuel Swenson, MD (University of Iowa)
- Noelle Larson, MD and Todd Milbrandt, MD (Mayo Clinic, Rochester)
- Kate Magsamen-Conrad, PhD (University of Iowa)
- Stuart L. Weinstein, MD (University of Iowa)
- Matthew Halsey, MD (Oregon Health Sciences University)
- Katelyn Winkler, PhD (University of Iowa)
- Charles Mehlman, DO (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center)
Thanks to members of Curvy Girls and their parents who commented on early versions of this work.