What is a Thoracolumbosacral Orthosis (TLSO)?
A TLSO is a rigid spinal Orthosis that spans the thoracic, lumbar and sacral spine. It is used to provide post-traumatic and post-surgical stabilization. A custom-made, rigid TLSO provides the maximum amount of exterior stabilization to the thoracic and lumbar parts of the spine.
The effective range of stabilization is from T5 – L4. An extension to the head with a cervical superstructure or to the leg with a hip joint and thigh cuff can increase the effective range of the TLSO through the entire length of the spine.
It is often custom-made from polyethylene plastic with a soft interface for patient comfort and can be either made in one piece with a single opening or in two pieces with lateral openings. The latter design is referred to as a clam-shell style. Of all the different designs the clam-shell is the easiest to apply. A custom-made TLSO is usually fabricated from a plaster of Paris cast or from digital scanning technology.
It is often used to provide non-operative management of: Burst-type fractures, Multi-level compression fractures, Chance-type fractures, Complex multi-planar fractures
Other indications include restriction of mobility for pain relief due to: Osteomyelitis, Discitis, Multi-level lesion for metastatic disease, Scoliosis, Scheuermann’s kyphosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis
The TLSO may also be used post-operatively to limit mobility of a region to enhance bony fusion. The duration of wear is typically up to 3 months depending on the treatment requirements of the Spine Surgeon.
TLSO Brace Helps Scoliosis
Scoliosis is a condition that causes your spine to curve sideways and usually occurs when you're growing.One condition in which TLSO bracing is helpful is scoliosis. This condition is a sideways curvature of the spine that usually occurs when you’re growing. Scoliosis can be caused from cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, birth defects, or injuries to the spine. Usually, most cases are mild but for some, the deformities will gradually get worse overtime.
Symptoms of scoliosis: Uneven shoulders or waist, One shoulder blade is more prominent than the other, One hip higher compared to the other
For those with mild curves, regular check-ups to monitor any worsening of the curve suffice for scoliosis treatment. But in other cases a thoracic lumbar brace or surgery may be needed.
TLSO Brace Helps a Herniated Disc
Injury or aging can also result in a herniated disc in the spine. Your spine consists of individual bones with cushions or discs in between them. When these discs slip or rupture, it pushes them out through a crack in the exterior resulting in irritation of the nearby nerves. A herniated disc is a result of gradual, overuse of your spine called disk degeneration.
Symptoms of a herniated disc:
Arm or leg pain, Numbness or tingling, Weakness in your muscles
To help ease the pain caused by your herniated disc, we recommend starting out with anti-inflammatory medications. Physical therapy can also help minimize your pain as well as icing your back. In a rare case, surgery may be suggested if the other methods fail to improve your symptoms.
TLSO Brace Helps Spinal Fractures
Fractures of the spine do not only occur in bones weakened by osteoporosis. Major trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident, a gunshot wound or a fall can result in major thoracolumbar injury. In many such instances, surgery will be needed to repair the damage, but leading up to and following surgery, a stabilizing and immobilizing spine brace for fractures will be needed.
Symptoms of a spinal fracture:
Sudden and severe back pain,Pain increases when walking or standing and twisting or bending, Deformity of the spine, Loss of height
Anti-inflammatory medications may be used to help ease your pain if you have a spinal fracture. In addition, physical therapy is also an option to help strengthen your back and spine. To help prevent these spinal fractures, eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
TLSO Brace Helps Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a common condition resulting of the body forming too much or too little bone, leaving them weak and brittle.Osteoporosis is a relatively common condition that can affect men and women of all ages but is especially common among older women. This condition is a result of the body forming too much new bone or too little. weak and brittle, making them much more susceptible to fractures and injuries. If left untreated, it can cause a number of other health issues such as kyphosis.
Symptoms of osteoporosis:Lower back or neck pain, Gradual loss of height, Stooped posture,Subtle bone fracture
There are a number of medications and treatments for osteoporosis treatment as well as a number of preventive practices in which one can engage to ward off or lessen the symptoms of the condition. Help prevent osteoporosis by maintaining a nutritious and well-balanced diet. Make sure intake calcium-rich foods to help strengthen your bones such as yogurt, cheese, milk, greens, seafood, and fruit. In addition, you can help prevent and ease your pain from osteoporosis by exercising. To reduce bone loss, it is recommended to do exercises such as running, walking, aerobics, weightlifting, etc.
TLSO Brace Helps Kyphosis
Kyphosis is an exaggerated rounding of the back, a condition known as a round back or hunchback.Another condition characterized by an unusual bend of the spine is kyphosis. This refers to an exaggerated rounding of the back, a condition also known as round back or hunchback. This is most common among older women; in such cases, it is often a side effect of osteoporosis weakening the spinal bones so much so that they crack, compress and take on a wedge-like shape. But some cases of kyphosis affect teens and infants, as this can also stem from birth defects, slouching, cancer and Scheuermann's disease, to name a few.
Symptoms of kyphosis: Difference in shoulder height, Head bending forwards, Hunch or bend in the back, Tight hamstring muscles
In mild cases, no treatment will likely be needed as there are no noticeable symptoms. But in other cases, kyphosis can cause thoracolumbar pain and stiffness. In extreme cases, kyphosis can disrupt the function of internal organs, tissues, nerves, etc.
Treatment for kyphosis is dependent upon the underlying cause as well as the extremity of the condition and the age of the patient. Pain relievers, osteoporosis drugs (if applicable), strength exercises and stretches and bracing can be helpful for improving or preventing this condition from worsening.
For less severe cases of kyphosis, wear a posture brace during the day to help prevent your condition from getting worse. This adjustable posture brace helps to train your back, neck, and spine muscles and lift your shoulders up giving you good posture.
Learn more about other spine curvature disorders here.
Injury or aging results in a herniated disc, when your discs slip or rupture.
There are a number of back conditions for which a thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO) can be helpful. TLSO refers to the region of the back these braces support, including the thoracic, lumbar and sacrum part of the spine. It also refers to the area where the thoracic and lumbar sections meet, which is known as the thoracolumbar region. TLSO braces are used to put pressure on unnatural curves that an individual may have, it then slows down the growth to eliminate the progress of the curve. These braces are used if you are diagnosed with a spinal disorder, deformity, or a different problem that needs structural support.
If you are looking for an upper back brace for your specific condition such a kyphosis, osteoporosis, scoliosis, herniated disc, or a spinal fracture, a TLSO might be right for you!