While many cases of both adult and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis can be treated with conservative measures like bracing and targeted exercise, sometimes surgery is strongly indicated.
In these cases, minimally invasive scoliosis surgery may be the right response. Offering radically reduced complications (infection in particular) and accelerated recovery times, this modern surgical intervention is becoming increasingly popular.
So, what is minimally invasive scoliosis surgery? Let’s find out.
The traditional approach
Scoliosis surgery is performed to stop the progression of the spinal curvature caused by the condition and to reduce its acuity.
Spinal fusion is the preferred approach for interventions targeting scoliosis. Vertebrae are fused into position, using a bone graft, or a material which mimics the physical nature of a bone graft. This is inserted into the space between affected vertebrae.
Rods and screws are employed to straighten the spine as the bone graft heals in place. This is also the case with the minimally invasive method and these are usually left in place. A long incision is required and muscle tissue can encounter significant trauma due to dilation in the surgical process.
The minimally invasive approach
Using an endoscope (a camera that allows the surgeon to see into the body with the aid of a computer monitor in the operating theater), the minimally invasive approach employs two or several very small incisions. This is one aspect of this style of surgery that makes it so desirable.
Sequential dilators are used, which represent materially less trauma to muscle tissue, reducing recovery time. A retractor is used which creates a small tunnel for instrumentation, another factor which contributes to far less patient trauma.
Patients who undergo minimally invasive scoliosis experience less blood less, as well as much less pain following the operation. They leave the hospital sooner and a have a greatly reduced risk of infection, due to the small incisions used.
Who’s a candidate?
Scoliosis curvatures occurring in the thoracic (mid-back) vertebrae are best adapted to minimally invasive scoliosis surgery. Curvatures occurring in the thoracolumbar or lumbar vertebrae are most commonly treated with the traditional style of surgery.
A conversation with your surgeon will determine the most advantageous surgical approach to correcting your scoliosis.
Following the procedure, there will be a noticeable improvement in the curvature. While it will still be partially present, minimally invasive scoliosis surgery makes a tremendous difference.
The bone will take approximately 3 months to fuse, but the full process can take up to two years, depending on your overall health and your body’s ability to heal. Some patients are asked to wear a brace.
In all instances of undergoing surgery, following doctor’s orders concerning activity and precautions in that respect is of the utmost importance.
Minimally invasive scoliosis surgery is a watershed moment in the evolution of surgical interventions to correct the curvature caused by scoliosis. Offering surgeons greater precision and better outcomes for patients, it continues to be refined.
I invite you to schedule a consultation to discuss minimally invasive scoliosis surgery and whether it’s right for you.