Scoliosis is a “S ” or “C” shaped curve of the spine that mostly occurs during the growth spurt just before puberty. Though the actual cause is unknown scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. In severe cases it can lead to reduced amount of space within the chest, making it difficult for the lungs to function properly and thus interfere with breathing . In some cases, the degree of curve remains stable, while in others, it increases over time. A person with scoliosis may have an uneven shoulder or waist, a shoulder blade that appears prominent than the other, one leg being longer than the other etc. This curves can be structural curves or non structural curves. In structural scoliosis, the curve of the spine can’t be reversed as it is rigid where as in the case of non structural type ,though the spine looks curved it functions normally. Scoliosis can cause complications like heart and lung damage making it difficult to breath, chronic back pains and noticeable changes in appearances.
In mild cases scoliosis won’t require surgery. In case of mild scoliosis , braces are recommended. In severe cases surgery may be suggested to prevent it from getting worse.
- Braces: They are plastic made close fitting invisible tighteners worn under the dress to prevent further progression of the curve. A brace won’t cure scoliosis or reverse the curve. It can be removed as and when required.
- Surgery: The surgery for scoliosis involves the spinal fusion wherein patient will be examined by an anesthesiologist, to manage the pain both during and after the operation prior to the surgery. A thin flexible tube (epidural catheter) may be inserted in the back at the conclusion of the operation to help control pain. Pre operation procedures also involves collection of blood samples to examine the blood count of the patient.The surgery takes five to six hours of time depending on the patient. During the surgery
- An incision is made in the middle of the back.
- The spine is exposed by moving the muscles to side.
- The joints between the vertebrae are removed to loosen them up. The new bone produced when the vertebrae get roughened eventually bridges the gaps between the vertebrae and makes them fuse together.
- Metal rods are used to hold the spine in place until fusion happens which are attached to the spine by screws, hooks, and/or wires.
A bone graft is used to stimulate bone healing which helps to increase bone production and the vertebrae heal together into a solid bone. A bone graft is either taken from the patients hip or from a donor through bone bank. The possible complications of the surgery are bleeding, infection, nerve injury etc.