EDF Casting: Technique Can Delay Surgery, Helps Correct Scoliosis

CHKD offers a noninvasive casting procedure for younger patients with early onset scoliosis. This technique is commonly known as elongation-derotation-flexion (EDF) casting. The cast is applied in the operating room and used to help straighten and correct significant curvatures of the spine in younger patients with early onset scoliosis.

In younger patients with early onset scoliosis that have a lot of growth remaining, there is a high likelihood that the curve will continue to get larger as they grow without intervention. The casting procedure is done to help prevent continued progression of scoliosis. This can give your child critical time for their lungs and chest wall to grow and mature. In some cases, EDF casting can even correct scoliosis and eliminate the need for formal surgery.

Using general anesthesia, CHKD’s spine specialists carefully mold the cast to your child’s body. The procedure, which takes place in the operating room, allows our spine specialists to straighten the spine and place the cast to hold it in a better position. Patients will wear the cast 24 hours a day for a period of time determined by their surgeon. As they grow, the cast is replaced to improve correction. This is more effective than bracing as it allows for more correction of the curve and better patient compliance.

Each cast has an opening in the front to make breathing and eating more comfortable. There is typically another opening in the back to allow for correction of the rotational deformity of the spine. The cast is covered by decorative duct tape to protect the skin from the casting material. Patients also wear a shirt under the cast that can be changed and provide improved hygiene.

For more information, email spine@chkd.org.