Scoliosis surgery repairs abnormal curving of the spine (scoliosis). The goal is to safely straighten your child's spine and align your child's shoulders and hips to correct your child's back problem.
Spinal curvature surgery - child; Kyphoscoliosis surgery - child; Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery - child; VATS - child
Before surgery, your child will receive general anesthesia. This will make your child unconscious and unable to feel pain during the operation.
During surgery, your child's surgeon will use steel rods, hooks, screws, or other metal devices to straighten your child's spine and support the bones of the spine. Bone grafts are placed to hold the spine in the correct position and keep it from curving again.
The surgeon will make at least one surgical cut to get to your child's spine. This cut may be in your child's back, chest, or both places. The surgeon may also do the procedure using a special video camera.
- A surgical cut in the back is called the posterior approach. This surgery usually takes several hours.
- A cut through the chest wall is called a thoracotomy. The surgeon makes a cut in your child's chest, deflates a lung, and usually removes a rib. Recovery after this surgery is often faster.
- Some surgeons do both of these approaches together. This is a much longer and more difficult operation.
- Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is a another technique. It is used for certain kinds of spinal curves. It takes a lot of skill, and not all surgeons are trained to do it. The child must wear a brace for around 3 months after this procedure.
During the surgery:
- The surgeon will move muscles aside after making the cut.
- The joints between the different vertebrae (the bones of the spine) will be taken out.
- Bone grafts will often be put in to replace them.
- Metal instruments, such as rods, screws, hooks, or wires will also be placed to help hold the spine together until the bone grafts attach and heal.
The surgeon may get bone for the grafts in these ways:
- The surgeon may take bone from another part of your child's body. This is called an autograft. Bone taken from a person's own body is often the best.
- Bone can also be taken from a bone bank, much like a blood bank. This is called an allograft. These grafts are not always as successful as autografts.
- Manmade (synthetic) bone substitute may also be used.
Different surgeries use different types of metal instruments. These are usually left in the body after the bone fuses together.
During surgery, the surgeon will use special equipment to keep an eye on the nerves that come from the spine to make sure they are not damaged.
Scoliosis surgery usually takes 4 to 6 hours.