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[Product Review] Velpeau Dual-Use Neck Brace
Velpeau Dual-Use Neck Brace

Short backstory: 
Before the Velpeau, I tried a “standard” firm foam SCC (OTC branded), then a Releaf, and then an Eliminator. The first I found uncomfortable: when positioned on my side, the foam tended to jab my jawline; when on my back, the doubled-foam in the back pressed against the back of my cervical spine. The Releaf was much more comfortable, but I found it too soft to provide much jaw support, and still was a bit bunched in the back. The Eliminator doesn’t have the problem of excess foam in the back, but for me it worked only if I were lying on my back with my chin tucked downward slightly. Since I sleep best (AHI-wise) on my side, I need jaw support there as well.

After going back to the broad elastic chinstrap for a while, I decided to give a SCC one more try. Looking at the forum, I saw a mention of the Velpeau line, and picked one up on Amazon.

Product line details:
Velpeau makes three different versions of their SCC: “comfort”, “dual-use”, and “enhanced”. The “comfort” has softer foam throughout, and looks to be similar in nature to the Releaf. The “enhanced” has a double-layer of more-rigid foam throughout, which would make it more like a “pillow top” version of the standard foam SCC. The “dual-use” has a piece of rigid plastic sheet that velcros to the collar, theoretically giving one more support when it’s present, with the collar acting more like their “comfort” model when not. The “dual-use” design seemed promising, so that’s the one that I chose.

What I liked: 
One common feature of all Velpeau’s collars is a “softer-foam layer” on top where it contacts the jaw. (Problem with jabs to the jawline eliminated - check.) 

By design, the plastic stiffener only runs along the front and sides. As such, it doesn’t interfere with, or add bulk to, the back of the neck. Because my sizing was on the upper-end of the range, there were also only the velcro straps in the back, with a gap in the foam. (Reduced bulk in back - check.)

There is also a generous curvature and cutout around the sides and chin area. Overall, this seemed like a Releaf, but with a bit more support and stability. 

What I disliked: 
In theory, the plastic stiffener would add noticeable … stiffness to the collar when applied. In practice, the stiffener is about 1” narrower than the collar, and is only affixed at the ends. As such, unless the collar is fairly snug, the stiffener is free to slide up and down the outside of the collar, which renders it not nearly as effective. 

In addition, especially when compared with the typical collars like the OTC, sizing is much more limited, especially with respect to collar height. My dual-use model was only 3” tall, and I could have used at least another 1/2” or more in height. In the first few days, the collar was sufficient (and I was getting great AHI numbers in combination with tape). After the foam settled a bit, I found the collar a bit too short. It also required a bit of experimentation to determine the proper tightness to use that was both not too snug at the beginning of the night and not too loose after several hours. 

Suggestions for others: 
If you like the Releaf but wish for a bit more contour, then the “comfort” model might be for you. Likewise, if you like a typical SCC but would like more padding on the top (and more contour), then the “enhanced” might be for you. If you like the Releaf, but want more contour and stiffness, and tend to wear it somewhat snugly, then the “dual use” might be for you. 

After giving up on the Velpeau, I went back to the OTC collar. It was more comfortable than before, courtesy of a few months of weight training changing how it rested on my shoulders. However, the OTC still didn’t offer enough jaw support for me when sleeping on my side. I have a Knightsbridge coming in a day or two, so we’ll see how that works.
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RE: Velpeau Dual-Use Neck Brace
Thanks for the review!
Apnea Board Administrator

OSCAR Chart Organization

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RE: Velpeau Dual-Use Neck Brace
I wonder if a self-adhesive Velcro square added in the middle would be secure enough to help.
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RE: Velpeau Dual-Use Neck Brace
(11-02-2020, 09:14 AM)ragtopcircus Wrote: I wonder if a self-adhesive Velcro square added in the middle would be secure enough to help.

It might, although given the softness of the collar cover, I'd be concerned that in short order the Velcro hook might tend to shred it. Beyond that, if the Velcro then caused the cover to shift or stretch, one would likely be back to the same problem as before.

In my case, since the Dual-Use is too short for me, it's all kind of a moot point. Might be worth a try for someone else who otherwise likes this model of collar, however.
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RE: Velpeau Dual-Use Neck Brace
I have a Velpeau 4" 'comfort' collar and a 3.5" 'enhanced' collar. I've been using both for six months, randomly switching between the two for 1-2 week intervals and checking my AHI score impact from the change. My average AHI is now 0.2~0.5, having dropped from a 1.7~3+. I think the 4" collar is more to my liking, and I prefer the stiffer support of the 'enhanced' version.

Unlike at the time of my initial purchase, Velpeau is now producing the 'enhanced' version in a 4" height, so I recently ordered a backup/replacement 4" 'enhanced' collar. My current collars are fine, I have laundered them twice since purchase and are holding up well.

(Five stars!)

Like every cervical collar, you need to choose the correct height.
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RE: Velpeau Dual-Use Neck Brace
Good reviews. Good comments. Thanks everyone. I'll follow this
Compliant for about 30 Canadian years

I'm just a cpap user like you. I don't give medical advice. I hope to learn from you, and share my experiences with you. 
Seek the advice of a physician before seeking treatment for medical conditions including sleep apnea. Sleep-well

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