Growth Friendly Scoliosis Surgery

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What is Growth Friendly Scoliosis Surgery? Definition, Purpose, Preparation, Procedure, and Results

Growth Friendly Scoliosis Surgery: Definition

Scoliosis, as you may or may not know is the abnormal sideways curvature of the spine, usually in an S or C shape. Usually, a person’s spine runs down in a straight line in the middle, but in the case of scoliosis, it is curved, in usually more than 10 degrees.

Once scoliosis symptoms start to manifest in a person, what they usually think first is what are the treatments available for me to correct this condition?

In the case of scoliosis, surgery is usually not medically necessary in most cases. However, in the case of children younger than 5 years old developing scoliosis at that age, it can be life-threatening. Growth-friendly scoliosis surgery approach is important for these young children, in order for the curve induced by scoliosis to be controlled, all the while maintaining a constant growth of the spine and the thorax.

Essentially, growth-friendly scoliosis surgery means controlling the abnormal sideways curvature of the spine, all while still allowing for growth of the spine.

Growth Friendly Scoliosis Surgery: Purpose of the Procedure

Surgical processes involving scoliosis will always be largely beneficial to the patient. Although surgery is not needed in most patients suffering the condition, a surgery, especially a minimally invasive and growth-friendly one, can be largely beneficial to the patient as it is a one-time solution for your problems.

Growth-friendly scoliosis surgery has the purpose of correcting a person’s scoliosis problem, especially in young children, all while allowing for the much-needed growth that occurs during their early years.

Growth-friendly scoliosis surgery also serves the purpose of preventing future damage to lung and heart function in kids developing an early onset of scoliosis.

Growth Friendly Scoliosis Surgery: Preparation before the Procedure

When you have finally decided yourself or for your child to undergo growth-friendly scoliosis surgery, you need to make some preparations before actually undergoing the procedure. Some of these preparatory procedures are listed below:

1. Preparing yourself for the tests before the surgery – Of course, before undergoing growth-friendly scoliosis surgery, you will need to take some tests in order to properly determine where the surgery will be made. Some of the tests included are:

  • Imaging Tests– you will be subjected to various imaging tests such as X-rays, Myelograms, CAT or CT scans and MRIs. This is done to properly visualize the disks in your spine in order to perform the surgery properly.
  • Renal Sonogram– in severe cases where the kidney might be directly affected by scoliosis, this imaging test is used to check how at risk the kidney might be if a surgery is performed.
  • Echocardiogram– much like the renal sonogram, but this time the risk factor of the heart is checked.

2. Preparing yourself by talking to the surgeon – talking to the person who will actually do the procedure on your certainly helps. For one, a surgeon can walk you through the necessary procedures that will be done. The surgeon may also advise you against doing some things right before the surgery such as smoking and lifting heavy things.

  • Your attending physician may prescribe you to donate your own blood or any family member/donor’s blood. This is to minimize the need for transfusion of blood taken from the blood bank.

Growth Friendly Scoliosis Surgery: Procedures

This type of surgery is mostly done in children who are still in the process of growing but have a progressing curvature of the spine that measures less than 35 degrees.

Growth-friendly surgery usually involves placing special vertebral staples or tethers on one side of the curve, usually on the concave side (the side curving inward) to inhibit growth on that side. This is done so that scoliosis will continue to grow and in the process correct the curve through more growth.

Growth Friendly Scoliosis Surgery: After Procedure and Results

Surgical recovery is necessary right after a surgical process has been done, and this is especially true in the case of growth-friendly scoliosis surgery. Patients who have undergone this surgical process usually need to stay in the hospital for at least 4 to 7 days.

  • Pain Medication– strong painkillers are usually prescribed in patients right after having scoliosis surgery, however, patients will sometimes stop needing them after 2 to 4 weeks. 
  • Limitations– your body will certainly have limitations after undergoing surgery for scoliosis, and your surgeon will tell them to you in detail in order for you to recover properly. Most of the time you will not be allowed to do the heavy lifting and bending for at least the first 6 weeks right after the surgery. However, you will not retain any permanent limitations or restrictions on your body, provided you allow it ample time to recover.

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