Scoliosis is a back condition, in which, the spinal cord tends to curve at a particular angle. This is a deformity, that mostly affects children and needs to be corrected at the earliest. Surgery is one of the methods to treat scoliosis or a curved spine.
The skeletal system gives the body its structure and posture, without which, the body may become wobbly and shapeless. The body stands erect with the help of the backbone, also known as the spinal cord, in medical terminology. The vertebral column is made up of 33 bones or vertebrae. The spine is naturally curved at certain degrees, that gives stability to the entire body.
However, sometimes, this curvature is more than normal, which may be because of a spine disorder. This condition, in which, the spine is abnormally curved or rotated, is known as scoliosis. In order to treat this abnormality, the individual may have to undergo a surgical operation. The cost of this surgery will depend on the type of surgery and may vary according to various hospitals. However, the average cost of the surgery is approximately USD 1,20,000.
As mentioned earlier, the vertebral column, an important part of the skeletal system, is the supporting system of the body. There are many disorders that may affect the spine including some accidental and some congenital defects. The disorder can affect both, children as well as adults. The condition can be observed in a child, when he/she is 10 to 15 years of age. It can be a congenital defect caused due to underdeveloped vertebrae.
The abnormal curvature can worsen, if it is not detected and corrected on time. Some individuals may also complain about the pain that they experience due to an abnormal curvature in their spine. Children and adults with a minor curvature (from 25 to 40 degrees) can get this condition corrected with the help of braces. However, if the curvature is beyond 50 degrees, then the person may require corrective surgery.
Before performing the surgery, the doctor may conduct a few diagnostic tests, like an X-ray, to check and confirm physical abnormalities like protruding hip bone, unevenness in the shoulder, prominent ribs etc. Though most cases can be corrected without a surgery, some individuals may have to go through this treatment method in order to correct the abnormal condition. The duration of the operation is approximately six hours and is quite a complicated procedure. This orthopedic surgery, also known as posterior surgery, is done through incisions on the back.
Rods or metal plates are attached to the deformed spine with the help of screws or hooks, to hold the spine in place. The vertebrae of the spine, where the rods have been fixed, fuse and hold the correction in place. This method is referred to as posterior spinal fusion.
Another kind of corrective surgery that is performed in children uses growing rods to treat this disorder. Since this deformity can have a severe impact on the growth of the child and may also cause respiratory problems, growing rods are anchored to the spine. Two parallel rods, with an adjustable mid section, are attached to the spine. The rods are then adjusted as the child grows.
Though this surgery helps correct the deformity of the spine, there are certain complications, which may arise post surgery.
- The spinal fusion procedure hampers the growth of the spine at the site of the surgery. Though the height of the child is not affected, this complication needs to be considered.
- Some patients may suffer from chronic back pain, post surgery, for the rest of their lives. This can be a result of the fused vertebral column, which restricts movement.
- There are also other complications in terms of surgery, like, allergic reaction to anesthesia, damage to the nerves, internal bleeding and infections etc.
The recovery time may vary from person to person and may depend on various factors, like, the age of the individual, the severity of the disorder and the response of the patient to the treatment administered. However, on an average, it can take approximately six months, including hospital stay of a week, for a patient to resume normal activities. The physiotherapist may also recommend a few scoliosis exercises to speed up the recovery process. The positive streak about scoliosis is that most individuals may often get cured naturally as they grow older.