Boston Othotics and Prosthetics
Boston Othotic and Prosthetics

Rigo Chêneau vs Boston Brace: Which is the Best Scoliosis Brace for You?

Updated (Originally posted )

When a diagnosis of scoliosis is made, a doctor may prescribe wearing a brace to prevent a spinal curve from getting worse. Bracing has been shown to be an effective treatment for idiopathic scoliosis, but there are several different types of scoliosis braces to choose from.

While the Boston-style scoliosis brace, including the original Boston Brace and the Boston Brace 3D made by Boston Orthotics & Prosthetics, is the most frequently prescribed scoliosis brace, some patients have been curious about a different type of back brace for scoliosis—the Rigo Chêneau Brace, which is made by Ortholutions in Germany and some smaller companies in the United States.

Both braces offer an excellent solution for the non-surgical treatment of idiopathic scoliosis, and have shown superior results when fitted by a quality orthotist and worn for the time prescribed. There are some key differences between the two brace types, however. Here’s how the Boston Brace and Rigo Chêneau Brace differ in several important categories.

  Boston Brace Original Boston Brace 3D Rigo-Cheneau
Provides successful outcomes when worn for the time prescribed. yes yes yes
Can be made easily and consistently. Manufacturing is systematic and repeatable. yes yes no
Can be adjusted after manufacturing for patient comfort with modular padding system to ease adjustments. yes yes yes
Covered fully by insurance with minimal out of pocket to patient. yes yes Sometimes
Approximate final cost. ~$2,500 ~$2,600 ~$6,000+
Exclusively made in the USA. yes yes no
Optional opening in front or back for patient satisfaction. yes yes Front only
Hides well under clothing. yes yes Sometimes

Experience

The Boston Brace—invented in 1972 by M.E. “Bill” Miller, the founder of Boston O&P—is the most studied and commonly prescribed brace for scoliosis, and the most widely used bracing system for idiopathic scoliosis in North America.

The Rigo Chêneau Brace was developed by Dr. Manuel Rigo of Barcelona, who made improvements to the Chêneau brace that French doctor Jacques Chêneau invented in 1978.

Manufacturing

Boston O&P designed and patented the thermoplastic bracing system used by the Boston Brace and Boston Brace 3D, and has been manufacturing these revolutionary scoliosis braces for almost 50 years—longer than anyone else.

The Boston Brace 3D

The Boston Brace and Boston Brace 3D are both custom-fabricated braces. The Boston Brace 3D is made from an individual scan of the patient and can be made easily and consistently. Manufacturing is systematic and repeatable, which is not the case with the Rigo Chêneau Brace. The Rigo Chêneau Brace fabrication process is not repeatable, which can lead to slight differences, even in multiple braces made for the same person.

In addition, all Boston Braces are exclusively made in the USA. Rigo Chêneau Braces are manufactured by different companies in multiple locations, including the United States and Europe.

Fitting & Comfort

Both the Boston Brace and the Rigo Chêneau Brace are custom-fabricated, and the Boston Brace and the Boston Brace 3D can be easily adjusted with pads after manufacturing for patient comfort and effectiveness. The Rigo Chêneau Brace can also be adjusted, but the adjustment takes longer and is not as flexible.

In addition, the Boston Brace hides well under clothing, and patients fitted with the Boston Brace have the option of a front or back closure. The Rigo Chêneau Brace offers front closure only, and the shape of the brace is more difficult to conceal under clothing.

Both the Boston Brace and the Rigo Chêneau Brace use CAD/CAM scanning technology to ensure the best fit. All Boston O&P-owned clinics use a sophisticated laser scanning system with Rodin 4D modification software to get the best fit and outcome.

Cost & Insurance

The approximate final cost of the Boston Brace and Boston Brace 3D is $2,500-$2,600. The approximate final cost of the Rigo Chêneau Brace is $6,000, and can be as high as $8,500. Depending on the patient’s coverage, much of this is out of pocket, whereas the cost of the Boston Brace is typically 100% covered by insurance after a deductible and your co-pay.

Outcomes

Both the Rigo Chêneau Brace and the Boston Brace and Boston Brace 3D have shown excellent outcomes when worn according to the prescribed time. However, Boston Brace products come with an optional feature that helps with compliance, which leads to better outcomes.

The Boston Sensor, a half dollar-sized thermal sensor that records the internal temperature of the scoliosis brace in order to record the user's wear patterns to improve compliance, comes standard with Boston Brace 3D braces that are obtained through a Boston O&P clinic.  The Boston Sensor has an app (available for Android or iPhone) that allows patients to check wear time instantly. The sensor takes a reading every 15 minutes and creates a report as often as patients like. If preferred, the information can also downloaded into a simple report. The Boston Sensor device can be purchased separately as an add-on to other braces as well.

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