Scoliosis is a deformity of the spine, and in this condition, the spine has a C or S-shaped curvature. This deformity is observed in infants, children, adolescents, and aged people. Sometimes, scoliosis is also detected in adults in whom the deformity was not diagnosed in childhood. Multiple reasons, including neuromuscular problems, deformed vertebrae, bone degeneration, and other problems, cause it. Spinal fusion scoliosis surgery and growing systems are two invasive methods to get rid of this deformity.
Here is a complete overview of the surgical treatments for scoliosis and why they are effective.
Why Is Scoliosis Surgery Needed?
A doctor recommends scoliosis surgery for adults and children when the spinal curvature becomes greater than 40 degrees.
Scoliosis surgery is needed to accomplish the following three goals.
Reduce The Deformity Of The Spine
Scoliosis surgery can improve the lateral spinal curvature by 50-70% based on the remaining flexibility of the deformed spine.
This surgical method reduces the hump in the ribs and helps one stand straight.
Stop The Spinal Curve From Worsening
Sometimes, non-surgical methods like casting and bracing fail to improve the deformity caused by scoliosis. Doctors also go for surgeries if the curvature worsens despite all the non-surgical treatments rendered.
To put it simply, scoliosis surgery will stop the curvature from getting more severe. Severe curvature can make one immobile, interfere with bladder and bowel functions, and cause breathing problems.
Helps Keep The Balance Of The Trunk
Scoliosis surgery helps maintain the spine’s natural curvature at the front and back. Further, doctors perform this surgery to keep the legs and hip even. The difference in the length of the legs or hip is one of scoliosis’s major consequences or symptoms.
What Are The Scoliosis Surgery Options?
There are three general methods for scoliosis surgery. Here, I will talk about spinal fusion surgery, fusionless, and growing systems. Along with these three, I will also introduce you to the latest spinal surgery method, ApiFix.
Scoliosis Spinal Fusion Surgery
Spinal fusion is the most popular method for adult scoliosis surgery. As the name suggests, this surgery fuses two or more adjacent vertebrae so that both vertebrae grow from the spinal joint and form a stronger bone that does not move or curve easily.
Spinal fusion surgery has become very effective these days with the proper incorporation of hooks, rods, wires, and other hardware. As a result, scoliosis surgery recovery has become faster in this method. Also, the curvature correction achieved in this method is effective.
The only disadvantage with this method is that a person may become less mobile post-surgery. There can be problems in the back movement and leaning frontward or backward.
The bone chip used for fusion in spinal fusion surgery can be autografts or allografts. Autograft bone chips are collected from any other body part of the person suffering from scoliosis. Allografts are collected from donors through a bone bank.
Talking about this scoliosis surgery will differ based on multiple factors, including the cost of the hardware, the severity of the patient’s condition, the length of hospital stay, etc. Nevertheless, the cost of scoliosis surgery will be something between $10000 to $255000 in the USA.
Growing Systems To Defer Spinal Fusion Surgery Scoliosis
Have you heard the term “scoliosis surgery rods?” This scoliosis surgery uses rods as anchors to support the spine. This surgery is done when the bones of a child are growing.
This surgery is done every six or twelve months to keep supporting a child’s growing spine. Once a person reaches skeletal maturity, he/she undergoes fusion surgery.
Fusion surgery is not recommended for children below the age of 10 because it can interfere with the growth and functionality of the lungs. Early spinal fusion surgeries can also lead to restricted trunk growth.
The Newest Scoliosis Surgery Treatment: ApiFix
ApiFix is the newest scoliosis surgery used majorly for the treatment of adolescents. It is non-invasive and promises to offer the same efficacy as a spinal fusion surgery minus the complications.
ApiFix is like an internalized bracing system, offering proper support to the spinal curvature of a person. This is most effective for persons suffering from adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. However, ApiFix has laid specific guidelines for persons who are eligible for this less-invasive scoliosis surgery.
A doctor places this brace with minor incisions on the spine. This bracing system gets attached to the spine with two screws at the top and one screw at the bottom.
In this way, the spine gets adequate support without causing any damage to the spine. As the incisions are small in this surgery, the risks of infections and blood loss are also less.
Fusionless Scoliosis Surgery
Fusionless scoliosis surgery follows a growth modulation process to help bones grow slower and denser. In this method, pressure is inserted to slow down the growth of bones.
In fusionless scoliosis surgery, the surgeon will apply pressure on the outer part of the spine. This pressure will make the growth process slower on the outer part of the spine. However, the spine will continue to grow normally inside.
As a result, the curvature of the spine will improve, and it will get a straight appearance.
A vertebral tethering system is one such fusionless method for scoliosis surgery. The doctor will fix two screws on the outer side of the spine. Next, a cord is used to tightly pull the spine. Thus, the curvature of the spine will become less.
Many doctors prefer fusionless scoliosis surgery as it helps one remain more mobile even after the surgery. However, this new method may not be available at every medical facility. Also, most studies are required to know the safety and efficacy of this scoliosis surgery method.
Scoliosis surgery effectively reduces and cures the spinal curvature of a person suffering from scoliosis. A patient is sent home after one week or more according to the complication of the surgery. However, pain medication advised physical therapies, and adhering to movement restrictions are essential to ensure a faster recovery from the condition.
Further, surgeons today use bone morphogenic proteins or BMPs in spinal fusions, and there also has been a lot of improvements in surgical techniques. So, we can expect a positive outcome, improving one’s quality of living with scoliosis surgery.