Scoliosis treatment depends on:
- The cause of the scoliosis
- The size and the location of the curve
- How much more growing the patient is expected to do
Most cases of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (less than 20 degrees curved) do not require any treatment, but these patients should be checked often to ensure their condition has not deteriorated.
When the curvature in idiopathic scoliosis approaches more than 25 or 30 degrees in a growing child, many physicians will recommend a brace, which uses pressure to help straighten the spine. Braces can be adjusted as children grow. Curves of 40 degrees or greater usually require surgery.
Treating Scoliosis with Minimally Invasive Surgery
Minimally invasive surgery is now a reality for spine surgeries, including surgery to treat scoliosis. Thanks in great part to revolutionary procedures developed by Richard G. Fessler, MD, PhD, a surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and professor of neurological surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and his team, minimally invasive spine surgeries have given new hope to patients with scoliosis and other spinal injuries and deformities.
In the past, spine surgeries were done by cutting muscle away from the spine. But now, with a process called tubular retraction, surgeons can use a minimally invasive approach to put a needle through the muscle and use a series of dilators to spread the muscle apart and insert the retractor (a tube about two-and-a-half centimeters in diameter), into the opening. That then becomes one of the channels through which surgeons work.
Then, an endoscope and surgical instruments are inserted through the channels to complete the spine operation. Once the surgery is complete, the working channels are removed, and the patient’s muscular anatomy remains 100 percent normal.
This allows patients to recover much faster than they do with traditional open surgeries. Some spine surgeries can now even be done on an outpatient basis.
Dr. Fessler and the team at Northwestern Memorial pioneered the minimally invasive procedure, which is transforming the way scoliosis patients are treated.
Watch Dr. Fessler perform a minimally invasive spine surgery to treat scoliosis.
Please note: this video may be graphic in nature.
Benefits of Minimally Invasive Scoliosis Surgery
Minimally invasive scoliosis surgery offers many benefits to the patients, including:
- Less stress on the body
- A faster recovery
- A shorter rehabilitation period following surgery
- Less blood loss
- Lower risk of infection