Idiopathic scoliosis is a chronic illness associated with structural deformity of the spine. The most common form is Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, affecting children between the ages of 10 to 18 and is found in 4% of adolescents. Currently, bracing is the only non-surgical treatment, and is recommended for patients that is not fully grown. However, as the patient grows their body shape changes, and the brace starts to cut into the patient and cause skin irritation. And while the primary goal of braces is to stop the progression of the spinal curve and avoid surgical treatment, currently only 1 in 3 is saved from surgery.
The Colorado-based startup Green Sun Medical is developing a transformative technology for adolescent scoliosis using a dynamic spine brace. In contrast to current rigid braces that “freeze” the upper body and limit movement, the startup’s technology consists of rings that fit perfectly on the human torso. These rings applies lateral and rotational forces, gradually reversing the shape of the vertebrate back to normal. Within the brace, there are pressure sensors that can give real-time feedback to ensure that the correct forces are being applied at the correct place.
There has been very little progress in bracing technology the last decades and Green Sun Medical’s technology could revolutionize the field. Their dynamic orthotic customize bracing to each individual, and thanks to their innovative built-in sensors, it fits perfectly even as the patient grows and the body shape changes. While current braces is rigid, limit movement and in general difficult to wear, the new braces are dynamic and still allow the users to perform typical everyday activities. This could have significant impact on quality of life for millions of patients, who often experience limited activity, diminishing self-esteem, and feelings of being left out. And most important, it could significantly lower the need for surgical treatment, and maybe even reverse the shape of the spine back to normal.
Green Sun Medical is currently part of Innosphere, Colorado’s leading high-tech incubator, and was earlier in 2016 voted the most impactful product for patients at the Wilson Sonsini Medical Device Conference. The startup also won the $250,000 Medtech Innovator Award at the 2016 AdvaMed Medtech Conference, in addition to a $25,000 award from JLabs.