Surgical Procedures for Scoliosis
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Surgery is often done on children with a curve over 40° to 50°.
It is done to:
Many surgery methods can be used. They are all done to:
The type of surgery done will depend on your child's age.
Spinal fusion joins together adjacent vertebrae so they may grow into one solid bone. It will limit certain movements depending on how many bones are fused. Hardware is used to keep the spine in place while the bones fuse. This surgery is only done in children who are older than 8 years of age. It is most often done in adolescents who are close to full growth.
This is one of the most common surgeries. It is a posterior spinal fusion. A metal rod is attached to each side of the spine using hooks attached to the vertebral bodies. The spine is then fused with a piece of bone from the hip area. The bone grows in between the vertebrae and holds them together and straight. The metal rods attached to the spine help the backbone stay straight while the fusion takes place. Part of a rod may need to be taken out if it causes later pain.
Thoracoscopic Anterior Instrumentation
Small incisions are made to insert a thoracoscope and surgical tools. There are some benefits to this surgery, but serious problems can happen. All options should be weighed before having this surgery.
Non-fusion surgeries help the curve correct itself over time. They do not restrict movement after the spine has healed. Some of these are new procedures and may not done everywhere.
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Idiopathic scoliosis in children and adolescents. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/idiopathic-scoliosis-in-children-and-adolescents. Updated March 2015. Accessed July 24, 2019.
Infantile and juvenile idiopathic scoliosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated March 5, 2018. Accessed July 24, 2019.
Scoliosis in children and adolescents. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/scoliosis. Updated December 30, 2015. Accessed July 24, 2019.
Last reviewed June 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 7/24/2019
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