What is Minimally Invasive Scoliosis Surgery and what are the advantages of this approach?
The goal of scoliosis surgery is to both reduce the abnormal curve in the spine and to prevent it from progressing further and getting worse. To achieve this, a spinal fusion is performed to fuse the vertebrae, in the curve to be corrected. This involves placing bone graft or bone graft substitute in the intervertebral space between the two vertebrae. Instrumentation such as rods and screws are also used to realign and stabilize the vertebrae until the graft heals and fuses the two vertebrae together.
There are several approaches to perform scoliosis surgery. Traditional approaches involve making a long incision over the curve to be corrected and cutting and retracting the muscles and tissues over the spine to gain access to the vertebrae that need to be fused. With advancements and innovations in endoscopic and minimally invasive surgical techniques, surgeons can achieve the same goals as open surgery, yet with much less trauma to the surrounding muscles and tissues through minimally invasive scoliosis surgery.
How is minimally invasive scoliosis surgery performed?
For the minimally invasive surgery, you’ll first be administered general anesthesia and put to sleep. You will be then be positioned on a radiolucent operating table, which allows the surgeon to take intraoperative X-rays of your spine with a fluoroscope positioned around you. This guides the surgeon in determining the correct position of the incision and also in instrument placement during the procedure.
How long the recovery takes?
The spine looks much straighter soon after the surgery but some curve will still be there. Spinal bones take a minimum 3 months to fuse together. However, complete fusion usually takes one to two years depending on the procedure and your body’s ability to heal and firmly fuse the vertebrae together. Your surgeon may recommend you wear a brace after the surgery. To ensure a smooth and speedy recovery follow the home care instructions given by your doctor and the surgical team closely and diligently.
What are the potential risks and complications of the procedure?
Scoliosis surgery is a major surgery. Both treatment and outcome are specific to an individual patient and vary for each patient. All attempts are made to reduce the chances of any risks or complications of this surgery. Still, complications may occur in a few patients. Complications of scoliosis surgery may include paraplegia, excessive blood loss, infection and failure of the spine to fuse. Rarely, cerebrospinal fluid leakage or instrumentation problem such as breaking of rods or dislodging of hooks and screws may also occur.