The aim of the study was to compare the results of brace treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) in male patients with matched female patients and to assess the effectiveness of bracing of boys in AIS and to discuss the results with published data. Between 1987 and 1995, 51 consecutive male patients with AIS were treated with the Boston brace. The patients were advised to wear the brace 23 h/day. The medical records of all patients were reviewed. Cobb angles and Risser signs were measured before bracing, in brace, at brace discontinuation and at final follow-up. Everyone of 51 male patients was compared with a female patient who was treated by the same method and matched by Risser sign, curve pattern, curve magnitude and duration of treatment and follow-up time. Compliance with brace was noted at every visit. Fourteen boys had worn the brace only during nighttime or occasionally and were considered non-compliant. Only compliant patients with treatment period > 1 year and follow-up > 1 year after treatment were accepted for the analyses of effectiveness of brace treatment and its prognostic factors. Thirty-three boys met these inclusion criteria. Bracing was considered to have a failure if > 5° progression occurred or if surgery was performed. At the final follow-up study progression > 5° was found in 16/51 (31.4%) of male patients. Corresponding figures of female patients were 11/51 (21.6%), respectively. In compliant boys progression > 5° occurred in 6/33 boys compared with 9/33 girls. The association between risk of progression and correction% in brace was statistically significant. The overall results of brace treatment of idiopathic scoliosis in male patients were inferior compared with matched females. One reason for inferior overall results in boys was poor compliance with brace wear. However, brace treatment in AIS may be recommended with the same principles in both genders
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