HOW OFTEN WILL RE-EVALUATIONS BE SCHEDULED, AND WHAT WILL THEY INCLUDE?
A competent doctor should be able to perform an examination of a patient, and establish a prognosis for how well that patient will likely respond to treatment. They should have a reasonable timeline for how long it will take to achieve results, and a plan for how often they will reassess the patient to ensure things are moving forward. If a doctor schedules re-examinations extremely far down the road, it is possible that your time could be wasted following an ineffective treatment regimen. As a patient, you have the right to know if the treatment you have chosen is effective sooner, rather than later. If you decide to wear a brace, you should expect to receive an in-brace x-ray that demonstrates a substantial improvement in the Cobb angle when the brace is worn. If you decide to see a chiropractor, he or she should conduct regular re-examinations and provide objective evidence that the treatment is effective. Avoid signing up for long-term care plans where exams will be done six months or even a year down the line; this is too long to wait for proof of results.
Most importantly, x-rays are mandatory when working with scoliosis; if your doctor does not take regular x-rays of your spine to measure the Cobb angle, this could be considered negligence and potential malpractice. Especially in skeletally immature patients who have the potential for growth remaining, scoliosis must be monitored closely for signs of worsening.
In addition to x-ray, re-exams should also include physical and functional assessments, such as lung capacity testing and posture pictures. Improvements in Cobb angle alone do not always correlate with improvements in cosmetic appearance or lung function, so it is important to have other methods of measuring these aspects of health.