If you have just been diagnosed with scoliosis, you may be feeling overwhelmed about your condition and the prospect of spinal surgery. But, take a deep breath. Your doctor is here to help you and clear up any misconceptions about scoliosis surgery and its other forms of treatment.
The best way to overcome your fears is to fight anxiety with knowledge. By reading up on spinal curvature surgery, you may find that it’s not so scary, or you may realize that a few hours of surgery can spare you from a life of back pain and dysfunction.
There are several approaches to spinal surgery for scoliosis. Each involves fusing – or joining together – the vertebrae in the curve to be corrected. The goal is to both reduce the abnormal curve in the spine and prevent it from getting worse. Here is some brief information about the most common surgical options for scoliosis:
- Anterior scoliosis surgery – During this procedure, the surgeon accesses the spine from the front of the body through the abdomen. The goal of this surgery is to address spinal curvature in the middle or lower spine through spinal fusion.
- Anterior and posterior scoliosis surgery – Anterior and posterior surgery is generally recommended for curves that are very severe, stiff, or have not responded to previous attempts of spinal fusion. Surgical tools including medical hooks, rods, and screws are used to correct the curvature.
- Posterior scoliosis surgery – Incisions for this procedure are made in the back over the affected vertebrae. This is the most commonly used technique for treating spinal curvatures in children and teenagers.
- Minimally invasive (endoscopic) scoliosis surgery – Improvements in surgical techniques and endoscopic medicine have allowed surgeons, in some cases, to address spinal curvatures with just a few, small incisions instead of one long one, as is used in traditional open spine surgery. This approach often results in less discomfort after surgery and a shorter recovery period.
With all this said, you are the only one who can decide to have scoliosis surgery. Undergoing surgery of any sort is a very personal decision that requires careful consideration. Be sure to talk with your doctor about any possible nonsurgical treatments that may be appropriate for you. If surgery presents the best chance for a healthy, active life, make sure you are aware of all the risks and benefits involved in your surgical treatment plan. With the right knowledge, you will be able to make a confident decision about your spinal health.
Florida Medical Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine & Spine is proud to serve families in Wesley Chapel and Tampa, Florida.