Improving thermal comfort in an orthopaedic aid: better boston brace for scoliosis patients

Kalev Kuklane, Sixten Heidmets, Tony Johansson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review


Scoliosis is an S-shaped sideways curvature of the spine leading to the shape change of the torso
Idiopathic scoliosis is one form of this disease with unknown aetiology. 300 children out of 100 000 need treatment. Treatment duration is till the end of the patient’s growth age (till the ossification of the skeleton) and the brace should be worn 23 hours a day.
Problems with brace are: heat, moist, heavy, stiff, affects skin, odor, medical look, etc. Thus, the main objectives were to improve heat and moisture dissipation from the brace. However, it was to be kept in mind that the brace is an orthopaedic aid and its positive effect has been documented and proven over decades.
A new brace was designed but the question was: Is it better? To answer the question the tests on the thermal manikin were carried out with constant surface temperature mode, stable temperature and humidity in the climatic chamber, recording of power input (heat loss) and having manikin on weighting scale for continuous recording of evaporation.
With manikin tests we could show that the dry insulation of old and new brace was similar. There was 30 % better moisture dissipation from new compared to the old brace. Heat dissipation from new brace was most probably improved due to higher evaporative heat losses and optimizing the openings may improve ventilation even more. In addition, following positive effects were achieved: the brace looks lighter and is more airy and skin friendly because of the openings, the new brace is by 3 mm thinner, therefore more fitting under clothing, openings and the thinner inner lining reduced the weight of the brace, the changeable inner lining makes frequent machine washing possible, but also use of linings in different colour.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThermal Manikins and Modelling
EditorsJintu Fan
PublisherHong Kong Polytechnic University
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)962-367-534-8
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventThe 6th International Thermal Manikin and Modeling Meeting (6I3M) - The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR
Duration: 2006 Oct 162006 Oct 18


ConferenceThe 6th International Thermal Manikin and Modeling Meeting (6I3M)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
  • Orthopedics


  • scoliosis
  • thermal comfort
  • thermal manikin Tore
  • Effective insulation
  • boston brace


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