Ralph Hooper and Frederick Reed of Charleston collaborated on the early development of the new side bending brace fabricated in 1978 for treatment of Idiopathic Scoliosis.
This brace is referred to as the night time brace as it is suggested to be worn whilst sleeping, it is molded to the patient while they are bent to the side, applying more pressure bending the spine against the curve.
Studies indicate the Charleston brace compares favourably to the Boston and Milwaukee braces, it is especially used for children that are not compliant with the Boston and Milwaukee TLSO.
This brace attempts to halt curve progression by holding the patient in such a position that the spine bends in the direction opposite the curve while sleeping. For example, a patient with a left lumbar major curve would wear a brace that bends toward the right. Because of its bending action, the brace is worn only while sleeping. Since it is worn for only about 8 hours a day, some physicians believe this brace is not as effective as other underarm braces.
Although there is no evidence that exercise increases the effectiveness of bracing, it may be recommended to patients. General fitness is important to maintaining physical and mental health, which may benefit a self-conscious adolescent with scoliosis.
Braces cause few complications while being worn. Skin irritation is perhaps the most common problem. Compression of the superior mesenteric artery and sensory nerve compression may occur, but are extremely rare.
Although bracing is potentially the most effective non-operative treatment, and is widely used around the world, the effectiveness of bracing remains controversial. Some experts maintain that bracing does not improve upon the natural history of the disease, either in its ability to prevent progression or in decreasing the need for surgery.