Is Surgery the Right Option for Your Scoliosis?
Living with scoliosis can be a real challenge, especially when coupled with pain, discomfort, and embarrassment with physical appearance.
And there is always that fear of your curve progressing…
Some patients may believe that surgery is their best and only option because they aren’t aware of an alternative treatment option.
When Is Scoliosis Surgery Necessary?
In most cases of severe scoliosis, surgery is an elective procedure rather than a necessary one.
Only about 1% of scoliosis cases actually require surgical intervention. In most cases, surgery is recommended by a doctor because they are either not aware that there are modern and effective non-invasive options available or they may believe they simply don’t work.
Before considering surgery, patients should be aware of the reasons why surgery would be necessary and of the potential complications that can arise from major spine surgery.
Surgery May Be the Correct Choice…
If you have:
- Chronic and ongoing pain – if you are experiencing strong levels of pain that interfere with your daily activities, or where it’s combined with advanced spinal degeneration, spinal stenosis, possible nerve damage, or even fractures from osteoporosis. In these cases, surgery may be necessary.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control – due to nerve or spinal cord damage and this may be considered a surgical emergency.
- Compromised lung and heart function – with severe scoliosis in your upper back, the distortion of the rib cage can affect your capacity to breathe normally or the normal function of your heart.
- Postural collapse – in some cases of advanced scoliosis, the posture can collapse. This is a very painful and disabling condition and warrants invasive surgery as the only means to reduce the collapse and improve posture.
If none of these 4 advanced situations apply to you, non-invasive measures may be a great option to improve your scoliosis pain, improve cosmetics, and avoid curve progression.
We utilize custom-designed exercise programs, over-corrective 3D modern bracing, rehabilitative procedures, specific isometric exercises, along with targeted stretching protocols.
Types of Spinal Surgeries
There are several types of spinal surgeries that can be performed to treat scoliosis, including:
- Spinal fusion: This is the most common type of surgery for scoliosis. In this procedure, two or more vertebrae are fused together using bone grafts and metal rods, screws, or hooks to straighten the spine.
- Growing rod surgery: This surgery is typically done in children with severe scoliosis who are still growing. It involves the insertion of a rod into the spine that can be adjusted as the child grows, which helps straighten the spine over time.
- Vertebral body tethering: This is a newer type of surgery that involves attaching a cord to the curved part of the spine and pulling it taut to straighten the spine.
- Disc replacement: In this surgery, a damaged disc in the spine is replaced with an artificial one to alleviate pain and improve mobility.
- Osteotomy: This surgery involves cutting and reshaping the bones in the spine to improve the alignment of the spine.
- Thoracoscopic surgery: This minimally invasive surgery is used to correct scoliosis in children by making small incisions in the chest and using a camera to guide the surgeon during the procedure.
The type of surgery recommended for scoliosis will depend on several factors, including the severity of the curve, the age of the patient, and the overall health of the patient. Your doctor will be able to recommend the best course of treatment for your specific situation.