Does Your Child Have Scoliosis? How Minimally Invasive Surgery Could Help

If your child has scoliosis, you and your doctor may be discussing routes to treat it. In mild cases, your doctor may just want to observe the problem as your child grows and have him or her attend physical therapy. However, if your child has a more severe case, more invasive methods — like surgery — may need to be considered.

If left untreated, scoliosis can damage the joints and cause arthritis in the spine. If left untreated, scoliosis can cause pain, cause bones to rub against one another, and even cause lung problems. If you are balking at the idea of surgery, you and your doctor may want to consider minimally invasive scoliosis surgery. Read on to learn more about this option.

How Is Minimally Invasive Surgery Different Than Traditional Surgery?

In the past, a larger incision that ran the length of the spine was necessary to treat scoliosis. To perform traditional surgery, doctors would have to cut through musculature in the back, which lengthened healing time, caused painful recoveries, and increased the risk of infection.

With minimally invasive surgery, the doctors only need to make a few small incisions. Also, instead of cutting through the muscle, doctors can now use special technology called sequential dilators to contract muscles. As the back muscles contract, a small tunnel is created, which allows your doctor to view your child's spine without creating a lot of scar tissue in the process. The doctor then places screws and rods near vertebrae discs to correct misalignments and help your child have a more stable spine.

While all surgeries carry risks, like excess bleeding, nerve damage, etc., minimally invasive surgery can reduce the risk of these types of complications compared to traditional surgery.

Which Children Are Usually Good Candidates for Surgery?

Your child should be in relatively good health so that he or she can handle the anesthesia and recovery phase. While minimally invasive surgery can be a lifesaver and prevent serious issues in the future, it's typically reserved for cases where reserved treatments — like back braces — haven't worked.

How Does Your Child Prepare for Minimally Invasive Surgery?

Your doctor may have your child stop taking certain medications before surgery. Your doctor may also perform imaging tests, like MRI or X-rays, to assess the areas of correction. You will also have to go over the recovery process with your child, as he or she may need a few months before he or she can return to full activity; he or she may also need to commit to physical therapy

Reach out to a doctor in your area to learn more so you and your child can weigh the pros and cons of minimally invasive scoliosis surgery.