Surgery for scoliosis in adults – Scoliosis is a problem that leads to curved spines i.e. forward; it is a change in the shape of the spine. It occurs in kids also when they are at their age of puberty or just before that. And it can develop in adults too. The adults who suffer Scoliosis maybe because in childhood their spine must have developed a curve, which later on in adulthood resulted in Scoliosis. It mostly happens in the adults because of the wear and tear of the spinal cord which can also be due to old age and some other conditions that the spinal cord suffers from such as Arthritis, it can also be because of osteoporosis. This condition is often caused by osteoporosis or arthritis symptoms which makes the patients disable and in extreme discomfort with their back.
How successful is surgery to heal Scoliosis in adults? What does the surgery involve?
ANSWER – Luckily, for those adults who are suffering from Scoliosis, it is a medical condition that can be healed. There is also no need for any kind of surgery. Surgery can only be effective for those patients who are suffering from an overly titled spine, it can also be called the Arthritic Spine. Surgeries are a very complicated procedure and it involves the removal of some spinal joints and fixing 2 or more bones in the spine and integrating it together in a proper way so that it can make the spine stable.
The treatment which shall be given to the adults will be solely dependent on the extremeness of the case and symptoms in the patient/person. If there are no symptoms in the case of Scoliosis, then there is no need for any treatment. Only when the Scoliosis problem reaches an extreme level where the patient cannot tolerate the pain or its symptoms, then they should go further for treatment.
Some of the symptoms of Scoliosis in adults are as follows –
- Lower back pain
- Pain in one leg
- Numbness in one leg
- Weakness in the legs
- Deformed or Curved posture
The treatment will basically involve 3 things- first is the change in eating habits and nutrition. Second is stretching the body and third is physical therapy. Walking is one of the effective exercises which helps in reducing the Scoliosis symptoms and balancing the bone mass. If the patient is suffering from osteoporosis then treatment is very essential as it will help the curved spine from getting damaged further, as the bones become soft. And surgery is only recommended if the pain is lasting for a longer time or Scoliosis is serious.
There is no need to have an apt surgery and make the spine curve normal, adults who are suffering from Scoliosis and have done a normal surgery also have a stable spine i.e. the head is made to fix directly over the pelvis from sideways and front ways, after which many patients got relief.
To treat Scoliosis the procedure of spinal fusion is adopted. Many times it happens that joints occur in the spine causing deformity. Such deformity i.e. the joints are removed during the surgery. And the doctors replace it with a bone-like material called the filler. After which wire, screws, hooks, and metal rods are put inside to make the spine properly hold where the joints were removed and filled with fillers. This method releases the spine and helps the doctors to make straight, stable the spine with equilibrium.
And it’s an obvious thing in the process of the surgery the doctors will have to make slits on the abdomen of the patient, then also on the back waist. It will help the doctors to have entree to the spinal cord area from all the directions. The surgery is very lengthy and it takes near about 6 hours to complete the surgery. And the patient will only have to stay in the hospital for 3 to 5 days.
At some hospitals, the doctor does the treatment of Scoliosis through a minimum invasive method which helps in keeping the recovery time short. Even after the surgery, it takes many months for the spinal cord bones to get healed and fix together. And in such a recovery time period it is very important for the patients to have a brace to protect the spinal cord.
And in most cases, the flexibility of the spinal cord where the bones were combined and fixed together will be partial or restricted. The only thing that can help the patients to have their flexibility returned to the spinal cord is through physical therapy where they teach the patients to stand, walk, and move and sit normally. There are many cases in which spinal fusion surgery for patients with Scoliosis may not remove all the symptoms, but there are many cases where it has balanced the spine, relieved patients from symptoms of Scoliosis, and improve their condition of the back.
There have many years in which many doctors and surgeons have discussed and argued about the excellent methods for dealing with the problems of Scoliosis in adults. If there is a curve in the spine, then it results in more pain in the back, pain in the leg, and other symptoms in adults. In the case of adults, they can also suffer from the problems in the discs which are between the spinal stenosis and vertebrate. Plus, there has been no evidence as yet whether it is good for patients with Scoliosis to have surgery or whether it is better to give physical therapy to the patients or whether to give them nerve injection.
To answer various kinds of queries the doctors from 9 centers in the North
America tracked 250 adults who were suffering from lumbar Scoliosis – malformations in the lower part of the spine. With the help of the research done by famous surgeon Keith H. Bridwell, (MD, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis) discovered in his research that surgery mostly helped patients become better in their condition. It really helped in improving the curve and patients had lesser pain. Research also suggests that those who did not do the surgery also dint suffer from severe pain or any kind of spinal deformity during a 2 year period of follow up with doctors. On the contrary, during their research they found the factor which helped them in determining whether to do surgery or not; were the disability of the patient and how much interference was made by that disability in the daily work of that patient.
As per the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Feb 20th, “If any patient is having lesser pain or better capacity of the spine to function, then they need surgery for more improvement in self “. – By Bridwell.
“If the patients have ample quality of life and the objective is to keep the patients from getting worse, then non-operative treatment is better.” – By J. Albert Key
Many people in the US i.e. 15% of them suffer from lumbar Scoliosis. And there are many adults who suffer from the problem of Scoliosis from adolescence. And many others don’t have any symptoms but they suffer from pain in the back, pain in the leg, and also tend to lose some inches of height due to the deformity.
“Many doctors suggest that patients should go for surgery before their condition gets worse.” – By Michael P. Kelly (MD, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and of neurological surgery at Washington University)
Average patients don’t have to go through surgery as they can do their daily tasks without having severe pain and their symptoms are also less serious.
Many people who are their risk involves infection and complications in the surgery like the vertebrate is not ready to fix together, which means the person will have to go through the operation again.
The study which was conducted had a total of 281 patients, with 140 of them in the non-operative group and 141 of them in the operative group. The patients had symptoms and their age was between 40-80 and they had a 30-degree curve on their lower spine. And they had spinal pain and disability. Physical therapy, injections, and anti-inflammatory drugs were given to the non-operative patients. During the research study, 27non operative patients’ condition became worse and they decided to go for surgery.
As per Bridwell, “Patients who underwent surgery had less pain and were able to get a good quality of life after 2 years.” And during the research 14% of the patients who had surgery needed one more surgery to make corrections in the complications that arose from the first surgery.
And the end of the research, it suggests that people who had surgery had improved their condition. The ones who did not have surgery were continuing with the same but after 2 years it got worse.
“The smugness of each patient with their height of disability looks to be the best teacher for identifying whether they select surgical method”. – By Kelly and Bridwell.