Learning that you may need surgery is a very scary experience. Every surgical procedure comes with a certain level of risk, and no matter how experienced the surgeons are, it takes a great deal of bravery to place your life in their hands.
Every year, countless scoliosis
sufferers around the world are told that they require surgery to correct their condition. Naturally, a lot of those people would rather avoid surgical intervention if at all possible, but before we explore potential alternatives to scoliosis surgery, let's take a closer look at what the operation actually involves.
What does scoliosis surgery involve?
The surgical operation that's commonly used to correct scoliosis is known as spinal fusion surgery. It is performed under general anaesthetic, so you'll be completely unconscious throughout the operation.
During the procedure, your surgeon will anchor a series of rods to your spine using tiny hooks and screws. These rods will reduce the angle of your scoliotic curve and serve as a splint to hold the spine in place. The surgeon will then apply a bone graft to your spine - this bone will eventually fuse with your spine, the aim being to prevent your curve from progressing any further. (The rods are a temporary measure, holding 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.)
A spinal fusion operation tends to be followed by a lengthy recovery period, during which some pain, discomfort, and loss of mobility are to be expected. However, in the long term, the surgery should mean that your scoliosis doesn't progress any further, and that your spinal curve has a smaller impact on your overall quality of life.
What risks are associated with scoliosis surgery?
As we mentioned earlier, all surgical procedures come with certain risks, and scoliosis surgery is no different. The risks/complications associated with spinal fusion surgery include:
- Implants coming loose or breaking
- Nerve damage
- Blood clots
- Development of a secondary curve
Furthermore, the Internet is littered with sad stories of scoliosis operations that simply didn't have the intended effect. Some patients (including two contributors to this painsupport.co.uk thread
) even find themselves in more pain post-op than prior to the spinal fusion procedure.
Is it possible to treat scoliosis without surgery?
While scoliosis surgery can be - and very often is - an effective means of combating scoliosis, it is easy to see why many scoliotics would rather not go under the knife if possible. Fortunately for these people, there is an alternative.
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic
, we specialise in providing non-surgical treatment for scoliosis (as well as for other spinal conditions such as hyperkyphosis
). Our ScolioGold
treatment courses utilise a variety of therapeutic techniques to achieve great results for scoliosis sufferers, including:
- Reduced Cobb angle
- Relief from pain
- Improved mobility/flexibility