If the curve in your spine is quite severe, your doctor may recommend that you undergo spinal fusion surgery for your scoliosis. If successful, surgery will ensure that your curve doesn’t progress any further; however, there are risks involved in this procedure.
Both treatment options – bracing and surgery – have their pros and cons. Let’s weigh them up and compare the two:
Using a Back Brace to Treat Scoliosis
If you require a back brace for your spinal curve, the first step is to have a cast taken of your back; this will be done at an outpatient appointment, so an overnight stay at the hospital is not required. Scoliosis braces are often made from rigid plastic, although more flexible materials are sometimes used for milder curves. Most modern scoliosis braces are designed to be difficult to see under loose-fitting clothing, so there is no need to be worried about them being seen through clothing.
If you require a brace, you’ll usually need to wear it for 23 hours a day, taking it off only for showers and baths; however, in some cases, the patient is only required to wear the brace at night.
Whilst you are wearing your brace, it is vital that you maintain the strength of your back muscles and not allow them to atrophy; a lack of back muscle strength can result in the benefits of this treatment being lost at the end of the bracing period, leading to an increase in spinal curve severity.
About Scoliosis Surgery
If your spinal curve is particularly pronounced, you may decide to undergo scoliosis surgery. The operation is performed under general anaesthetic, so you’ll be completely unconscious for the duration of the procedure.
During the surgery, your surgeon will attach a series of rods to your spine. These rods will reduce the angle of your spinal curve and serve as a splint to hold your spine in place. The surgeon will then apply a bone graft to your spine – this bone will eventually fuse with your spine, preventing your curve from increasing any further. The rods are not a permanent measure; they’re only used to hold the spine in place until the fusion process is complete. However, the rods are usually not removed, as to do so would require another large (and potentially risky) surgical operation.
In theory, surgery should mean that your scoliosis cannot progress any further and that your curved spine does not impact your everyday life to the same degree. However, like most surgical procedures, there are a number of risks associated with scoliosis surgery, such as the possibility of nerve damage, infection, implants coming loose or breaking, and / or the development of a secondary curve. In some rare cases, patients can even find themselves in more pain post-op than prior to the surgery.
Is There a 3rd Option?
If you would rather not treat your spinal curve with surgery or a back brace, you will be happy to know that we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic
offer a non-surgical alternative to these scoliosis treatments.
Our chartered physiotherapists treat scoliosis sufferers using the Clinic’s own ScolioGold method
; this treatment programme combines proven non-surgical techniques from around the world, including the Schroth Method
, the FITS Method
, the PNF method
, and several others. We’re constantly monitoring and developing our methods to reflect the latest advancements, and because of this, our non-surgical method continues to deliver gold-standard results.
To find out if we can help you treat your scoliosis without surgical intervention or the use of a back brace, please contact us now and arrange an initial consultation.