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Scoliosis Surgery

Scoliosis Surgery and Other Treatment Options

Beside hereditary factors, constant bad posture and habits may lead to mild and serious childhood deformities of the spine. In medical terms the sideways curving of the spine is referred to as scoliosis, which often also implies the abnormal twisting of the upper body.

Scoliosis treatment in case of mild and moderate degree deformity happens through bracing, however, severe curving that is expected to worsen requires scoliosis surgery to put the vertebrae in order for better alignment.

Signs of Scoliosis

  • Visible curve of the spine, slightly twisted trunk
  • Badly fitting clothes, feeling of asymmetry
  • One shoulder is higher than the other
  • Head always tilts sideways
  • Back or chest pain
  • Advanced scoliosis can result in heart and lung problems

Scoliosis Treatment

Traditionally scoliosis treatment is threefold:

  • Constant observation
  • Physical control with bracing (to correct mild degree scoliosis)
  • Specialized exercise, massage and yoga can ease symptoms
  • Scoliosis surgery (to treat neuromuscular scoliosis, severe, over 50 degree juvenile scoliosis)

Scoliosis Surgery

The aim of scoliosis surgery is to restore the normal appearance and curves of the spine, stop the worsening of scoliosis and to reduce pain. The surgery is basically a fusing operation to correct badly positioned vertebrae and as such it is a major surgery that implies the repositioning and realignment of bones and muscles.

Depending on the amount of fusion scoliosis surgery may take from 4 to 12 hours.

As the spinal cord is responsible for extremely sensitive neural functions, throughout the operation the surgeon will constantly check the activity and reactions of the nerves and the spinal cord.

Depending on the condition a single or several incisions are made next to the spine.

With the help of screws and rods the surgeon performs a fusion (welding) of the badly positioned vertebrae and stabilizes them in the correct position. The fixing tools used in scoliosis surgery usually stay in the body permanently. 

A bone graft is then placed around the fused bones to help them heal and grow together in the right position (bone grafts can be harvested from the patient’s hip, from a cadaver or developed artificially)

Full recovery time may take up to 6 months; however, patients do not need to stay in bed for more than a few days. A long follow-up physical therapy is recommended and moderate, specialized exercising to strengthen back muscles.

Risks of Scoliosis Surgery

  • Nerve or blood vessel damage
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Damaged fixing tools