In some cases, conservative interventions for a child’s scoliosis or kyphosis aren’t sufficient. Complex problems may be responsible for spine curvature and require a more involved surgical response than physical therapy or bracing.
If your child has a severe spinal curve that does not improve sufficiently with conservative treatment, surgery may be necessary. Surgery for scoliosis and spinal deformity is typically reserved for curves that are greater than 40 to 50 degrees. Spine reconstruction is an advanced surgical procedure that stabilizes the spine through a combination of techniques.
MIS Posterior Surgery
Posterior spinal fusion is one of the most frequently performed surgeries to treat adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. The spine is approached through the back. Instrumentation and bone grafting are used to align and stabilize the spine.
The minimally invasive approach involves a few small incisions made in the back. The incision technique is focused on preserving muscle. A small camera and surgical instruments are inserted through the incisions. The camera magnifies the internal anatomy to help guide the surgeon. Live X-ray imaging projects images in real time onto a monitor in the operating room. These methods improve accuracy and precision while reducing tissue damage.
MIS Posterior Surgery involves two steps: straightening the spine using rods and spinal fusion. Because spinal fusion happens gradually over time, metal rods are attached to keep the spine in place until fusion takes effect. For fusion, a bone graft is added to the curved part of the spine. Over time, the graft will connect the one or more vertebrae together to make a solid union.
The goal of this surgery is to realign and reconstruct the spine while minimizing soft tissue damage and preserving long term function.
The benefits of MIS posterior surgery include less trauma to surrounding tissue, shorter recovery time and less pain. Most adolescents who have this surgery are released within a week. Post-surgical bracing is not needed following MIS posterior surgery.
Open back surgery is the traditional approach to correct curvature and perform spinal fusion. With this approach, one long incision is made through the muscle and soft tissues of the back to access the spine. The surgeon attaches rods to the spine to support alignment and stability. Bone grafting can promote fusion in the curved vertebrae. Over time, the affected vertebrae will grow together into one solid unit.
Scheuermann’s kyphosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. It develops during adolescence while the spine is still growing. This uncommon type of kyphosis results from a structural deformity in the vertebrae.
Normal, healthy vertebrae are rectangular-shaped and stacked on top of one another with a soft disc between each one. People with Scheuermann’s kyphosis have vertebrae wedged forward and closer together in a triangular shape. This abnormal growth causes the thoracic (mid to upper) spine to curve, creating a rounded back. As the kyphosis progresses, it can lead to more pronounced curves, spinal deformities and pain.
The Ponte procedure is a surgical approach to both Scheuermann’s kyphosis and severe scoliosis. A single incision is made in the back in order to access the spine. Small cuts are made in the bony parts of the spine where kyphosis is present. Screws are fixed into the vertebra and rods are attached to straighten the spine.
Customized Scoliosis Care in Texas
Our expert team of spine professionals includes physicians, physiatrists, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons and rehabilitation specialists. They cover the entire spectrum of spine care to improve your child’s condition and improve quality of life.
With all spine conditions, surgery is typically the last resort. It’s important to take a conservative approach when treating the spine. Our number one priority at Ascension Seton is to offer the most appropriate course of treatment for your child.
Experience the Ascension Seton Difference
We understand that as a parent, you have questions and concerns about your child’s health. To find out more about treatment options for scoliosis and kyphosis at Ascension Seton, visit one of our locations. Our centers are located in Austin and throughout Central Texas. We look forward to helping your child enjoy an improved quality of life.