Spine Surgery-Scoliosis Correction Surgery
SPINE SCOLIOSIS CORRECTION SURGERY
Scoliosis is a disorder that leads to an abnormal curve of the spine, or backbone. The spinal curve appears normal only when looking from the side, but the spine should appear normal when looking from the front as well. People with scoliosis have additional curves to either side of the body, and the bones of the spine twist on each other, making a C or an S-shaped or scoliosis curve in the spine. Scoliosis ranges from 10-20 degrees (mild), 20-50 degrees (moderate), and when greater than 50 degrees (severe).
Scoliosis is like two times more common in girls than in boys. It can show up at any age, but it is mainly common in those over about 10 years of age. Scoliosis is hereditary in that persons with scoliosis are more likely to have children with scoliosis; however, there is no correlation between the seriousness of the curves from one generation to the next.
Surgery may be suggested if your child's scoliosis continues to get worse regardless of other treatments, or if they have severe scoliosis and they've stopped growing.
The type of surgery offered will be dependent on your child's age.
Surgery in Children
Children – generally those under 10 – can have a procedure to insert special rods alongside the spine. This can help in stopping the curve from getting worse as the spine grows.
After the surgery, your child will need to go back to their specialist every few months to have the rods lengthened to keep up with their growth.
Based on the type of rods used, this will be done either:
During a minor operation where the rods are extended through a small cut (incision) in the back.
Using a remote device that activates magnets inside the rods – no incisions are needed to lengthen these rods.
Even if they have surgery, your child may be required to wear a brace to protect their back.
When they stop growing, the rods can be taken off and a final surgery to straighten their spine may be performed.
Surgery in teenagers and young adults
Teenagers and young adults who don’t grow anymore can have an operation called a spinal fusion to correct the curve.
This is a major surgery where the spine is straightened using metal rods, screws, hooks or wires, along with bits of bone gotten from elsewhere in your body, usually the hip.
These are normally left in place permanently.
Spend around a week in hospital after the operation.
Can go back to school after a few weeks.
Can return to sports after a few months – although they may need to stay away from contact sports for longer time.
Sometimes they'll be required to wear a back brace after surgery to guard the back while it heals.
Risks of surgery
Like any procedure, spinal surgery carries a risk of complications. It will only be recommended if your surgeon believes the benefits outweigh the risks.
Some of the main risks include:
Bleeding – if this is serious, your child may need a blood transfusion.
Wound infection – this can easily be handled with antibiotics.
Failure of the rods or metalwork moving or the grafts to attach properly – additional surgery may be needed to correct this.
In rare cases, injure to the nerves in the spine – this can cause a permanent numbness in the legs, and can sometimes lead to paralysis of the legs and loss of bowel and bladder control.
Make sure you share the potential complications with your surgeon.
Surgery in Adults
Most adults with scoliosis will not need surgery.
But it may be considered if:
The curve in the spine is severe or becoming significantly worse.
You have severe back pain and other treatments have not been of helped.
The nerves in your spine are usually irritated or squashed.
Types of surgery
Various surgical techniques may be used, such as:
Laminectomy – where a segment of 1 of the bones in your spine (vertebrae) is removed to relieve pressure on the affected nerve.
Discectomy – where a segment of 1 of the discs between the vertebrae is removed to relieve pressure on a nerve.
Spinal fusion – where 2 or more vertebrae are connected together to balance, stabilize and straighten the spine.
In most cases, a combination of these techniques can be used.
Risks of Surgery
Spinal surgery is a major one and it can take up to a year or more to fully heal.
It also carries a risk of potentially severe complications, including:
Failure to reduce the pain – surgery is mainly better at relieving pain that radiates to the legs, rather than pain in the back.
A wound infection.
A blood clot.
Though very rare, injury to the nerves in the spine can lead to permanent leg numbness or weakness, or some degree of paralysis in rare cases.
Exercise and other therapies
Regular exercise is essential for children with scoliosis. It can help enhance muscle strength and may help reduce any back pain.
Children with scoliosis can generally do most types of exercise. They only need to shun certain activities if advised to do so by a specialist.
It's not yet clear if certain back exercises or physiotherapy can help recuperate scoliosis – they're not recommended by all specialists.
There's only few reliable evidence to support that other therapies, such as osteopathy and chiropractic, can aid resolve a curved spine or stop it getting worse.
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