Scoliosis is a spinal condition in which the spine curves sideways, resembling the letter "S" or "C." It is most common in late childhood because children experience rapid growth before puberty. It is a common spinal disorder with thousands of children diagnosed with scoliosis every year.
Many people who have been diagnosed with mild scoliosis can go on with their lives without serious if any, consequences. Non-surgical treatments such as a Boston splint, if necessary, can help stop the development of a growing spinal curvature.
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However, the only way to straighten and reduce curvature is through scoliosis surgery, also known as spinal fusion. In spinal fusion surgery, two or more vertebrae are brought together to provide stability and alignment.
Metal rods are attached to the spine to hold the spine together, and over time the vertebrae are completely fused together. Scoliosis surgery is only recommended for patients with a spine curvature of at least 40 degrees or more.
Such open spine surgery is a very aggressive process. It takes about 6 hours in the operating room. The patient must stay in the hospital for at least a week before doctors can discharge him. It can take several months for patients to regain full strength and range of motion – it takes an average of six months for doctors to allow patients to resume any type of activity.