Understanding Medical Problems

Minimally Invasive Spine Deformity Surgery Might Help Your Scoliosis

A spinal deformity caused by scoliosis does not always need surgery. However, if your condition gets worse or causes increased pain in your back due to compression of your spine, your doctor might suggest spine deformity surgery. Here's how this surgery is done.

A Minimally Invasive Procedure Might Be Possible

Your doctor considers the location of your spinal curvature and health complications you may have when deciding if minimally invasive spine deformity surgery is right for you. In some cases, it's better to perform an open operation that involves a long incision along the full curvature of your spine.

If a minimally invasive procedure is right for you, you might experience a quicker recovery and a lower risk of complications from the surgery. That's because the minimally invasive procedure uses small incisions and the surgeon moves your muscles out of the way rather than cut through them.

Rather than open your back and look at your spine during an open surgery, the surgeon inserts tools in small incisions and performs the surgery by watching a monitor in the operating room. You'll still be put to sleep with general anesthesia and be comfortable throughout the surgery.

A Spinal Fusion Is Done To Stabilize Your Spine

This type of spine deformity surgery involves a spinal fusion that stabilizes the vertebrae in your spine. The surgeon may use bone or another material for the surgery. They remove the damaged disc, which allows some straightening of your spine.

The bone graft might be done with part of your rib or a donor bone. The graft is placed where the disc was removed and then rods and screws are placed on the vertebra above and below the graft to hold it in place. As the screws tighten, the deformity of your spine is corrected as much as possible.

You may notice a difference in your spine right away, but it can take months for a spinal fusion to heal completely.

Recovery Might Involve Physical Therapy

Your doctor might have you wear a brace for a while after your surgery. With minimally invasive surgery, you shouldn't have too much pain. Your pain might be managed with over-the-counter painkillers rather than prescription drugs. Your doctor will let you know how long to take off from work, but it might be several days before you can return.

You'll also need to hold off on exercise and vigorous activity until your doctor clears you for it. You might go to physical therapy during your recovery to help with your healing and prevent muscle loss due to limited activity.