Condition

Scoliosis

When conservative treatments for scoliosis for you or your child have failed, scoliosis spine surgery options are available at the local spine and pain center of Premier Brain & Spine, with ambulatory surgery centers in Edison, Union, Rutherford, Hackensack, Paterson, Freehold, Bayonne, West Orange, and West Caldwell, NJ, and in Goshen, NY. Without the proper effective treatment, scoliosis can worsen and lead to unnecessary pain and deformity. Call today for an appointment.

What Is Scoliosis Surgery?

Scoliosis surgery is a procedure performed to correct scoliosis, an abnormal sideways curve in the spine that resembles the letters S or C. Scoliosis is frequently diagnosed in children and teenagers, but can also be discovered in adulthood. For some adults with scoliosis, the condition may have developed in childhood or adolescence, but didn’t become a problem until the adult years. For other adults, scoliosis develops after the age of 50 because of the aging process, which is known as degenerative scoliosis.

If a spinal curvature is severe or is causing discomfort, it’s time to consult an expert in the care of spine conditions. Getting an accurate diagnosis is the first step toward proper treatment. Your best choice for spine care is Premier Brain & Spine, home to New Jersey’s top spine specialists.

The treatment your New Jersey orthopedics doctor recommends for scoliosis usually depends on the severity of the curve and how it’s impacting your quality of life. Factors that may lead to a recommendation of scoliosis spine surgery include:

  • A severe curve of 40 degrees or higher
  • Signs that the curve is progressing
  • Vital organs are compressed
  • Breathing has become difficult
  • Numbness or shooting pain in your leg

In children, a top spinal physician may recommend bracing to stop the progression of the scoliosis, deciding to wait until the bones stop growing before recommending surgery except in the most severe cases. Adults who were treated with surgery as children may need revision surgery, especially if the surgery was done 20 or more years ago, which is before many advances in spinal surgery were made.

The goals of surgery for scoliosis include stopping the progression of the curve, reducing spinal deformity and relieving symptoms, such as back pain and pressure on the nerves. Scoliosis surgery aligns your shoulders and hips and maintains trunk balance. Types of scoliosis surgery include:

  • Spinal fusion

    This procedure involves fusing two bones together using screws, hooks or wires and a bone graft. This causes them to form a solid bone, which means they no longer move.

  • Vertebral body tethering.

    During this procedure, a strong flexible cord is inserted through screws placed on the outside edge of the curve. The spine straightens when the cord is tightened.

  • Expanding rod.

    This is a procedure for children if scoliosis is progressing rapidly. The surgeon attaches one or two expandable rods along the spine that are lengthened every few months.

Spinal fusion is the most common surgical treatment for severe curves. Besides helping to stop the progression of scoliosis, it provides stability and reduces pain.

The symptoms of degenerative scoliosis, also called adult-onset scoliosis, can worsen over time. Surgical treatment for adult scoliosis may include:

  • Decompression.

    This procedure is done to remove bone or ligaments that are compressing your spinal cord.

  • Improvement of spinal alignment.

    When correcting scoliosis in adults, the surgeon must consider not only correcting the side-to-side curve, but also the front-to-back curves, known as kyphosis and lordosis to keep you standing upright

Decompression surgery is often combined with spinal fusion. In degenerative scoliosis, the spine may become unstable after decompression alone. Spinal fusion provides the needed stability.

The time you need for recovery varies, depending on a variety of factors, including your age, overall health and the type of surgery done. Recovery often includes:

  • The need to stay in the hospital for a few days
  • Physical therapy to help you get out of bed and walk as soon as possible
  • A nurse to check the wound daily and change the dressing
  • The scoliosis surgery scar becoming less noticeable over time
  • Avoidance of showers for the first few days after surgery
  • Varying pain levels that may be intense for the first few days, but gradually improve
  • Needed assistance with daily tasks for a few days or weeks
  • Inability to drive for about a month
  • Return to work in four to six weeks if you have a desk job, longer if your job is physically demanding

The complete healing process can take six to 12 months. It’s important to follow all post-op instructions provided by your doctor. You should avoid heavy lifting, bending and twisting during the recovery process. Your healing is evaluated at follow-up appointments, and the team at the surgery center guides you about when to resume activities.

Other medical conditions may need to be considered when treating adult-onset scoliosis. It’s not uncommon for older adults to have conditions such as:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease

Because of the many factors to be considered in treating degenerative scoliosis, you need to discuss the benefits and risks of scoliosis surgery with your doctor. Your NJ ortho team carefully considers all factors affecting your health when recommending the best treatment for scoliosis or other back conditions.

Scoliosis surgery is an effective treatment for scoliosis when non-surgical methods haven’t been successful. If scoliosis is causing you pain or other symptoms, these symptoms may get worse. Severe scoliosis that’s untreated can cause increasing deformity, worsening pain and possibly damage to your heart and lungs. Symptoms of spinal imbalance can affect your quality of life.

There are both surgical and non-surgical treatment options for scoliosis. To find out the best remedy for your situation, visit an expert in the field of spinal care. The doctors at Premier Brain & Spine have successfully treated thousands of patients with a variety of spinal problems including:

Contact the nearest spine surgery center to schedule a consultation today.